Platforms vs. Apps – A Critical Choice for SMBs
As small and medium-sized businesses seek to mobilize their workforce with apps that integrate with the ERP, they are encountering a serious problem.
For one thing, it becomes evident very early on that there are processes or activities that need to be recorded and stored in the system, but that aren’t integrated as part of the ERP. This causes a ripple-effect of delays where information is too slow to get to the parties that require it, and what information does get through is often fragmented or incomplete. Although employees have more freedom than ever to download and collaborate using apps, and it may feel like an improvement, the fact is that the information is out of sync with the ERP.
Secondly, SMB’s vary widely in their needs. The apps they adopt often require customization (coding) which is not a core competency of the business. The SMB is then reliant upon the App developer for coding the customization which is expensive and time consuming. The apps also require their own integration with the ERP. This may be manageable for one or two apps, but as they proliferate around the business all of this becomes a lot to manage.
Software Apps versus Platforms – The Problem with Programming
In order to understand what differentiates a platform from a software app, it can be helpful to look outside of the world of computing. Lego is a perfect example. These timeless building toys have grown beyond simple blocks that children can use to create whatever their imagination can dream up. And all of this evolution in what is possible with Legos is grounded in basic reusable components and repeatable patterns within a common framework. A platform that enables each child to build their own solution.
With this as our foundation, let’s look at how this idea can also apply to SMBs. There are numerous potential uses for such a platform, replacing the aforementioned app proliferation conundrum, where custom coding and integrations hog-tie the SMB. A system that allows the business stakeholder to be much closer to solution creation reducing the project overhead associated with software development. And like a child creating a Lego structure, configure and deploy multiple solutions from reusable components and repeated patterns.
Conversely, lacking the platform, the end user is constrained by the confines of what is and is not allowed within the parameters of the software. They cannot “create” nor integrate things efficiently. Even in the best possible cases where the developers are cognizant of the end-users’ needs, they cannot account for every possible iteration of every possible SMB and industry.
The Enigma of the SMB and Their Ever-Changing Needs
The SMB is a common target market for rigid, single-purpose apps. But the SMB is not a concrete, easily-definable entity. Their needs change and they must adapt to the changes, trends and whims of the market or be left behind.
In the case of the SMB, adaptability is crucial. Even if the SMB leverages software that’s built on a platform, most SMBs don’t have access to a knowledgeable development team, so they rely on external companies to handle customization of their ERP system. Over time, they begin to seek out new suppliers, new delivery methods, new tracking systems and a whole host of other potential changes and updates.
And this is where rigid, single-purpose apps come up short for SMBs. They can’t flex affordably to meet their unique and evolving needs. It can’t keep up, even under the very best of circumstances. SMBs quickly realize that such a system can quickly become bloated both in terms of code and expense. Unlike Legos, the SMB can’t simply replace a green brick with a yellow window because they’re easily interchangeable on the platform!
The Platform Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together
With these faults in mind, how can a platform-based solution not only address these challenges, but overcome them?
Much in the same way that children can easily pick up and understand how Legos work without much instruction or guidance, a platform-based system needs to be able to accommodate the SMBs’ needs without a lot of technical intervention.
When the end user themselves can update and build upon the platform without needing a dedicated roster of developers on hand and without needing to try and surmount the high learning curve that advanced coding requires, an amazing thing happens:
The solution creation becomes more like a puzzle, where interchangeable pieces fit together and can be mixed and matched in an adaptable, flexible framework that’s built from the ground up to allow for customization and improved efficiency.
And much like the young child unleashing their imagination through a series of colored blocks and figures, SMBs can easily integrate people, processes and systems on a single streamlined, easy-to-understand platform that not only accommodates their current needs, but is built to anticipate and adapt to their future needs as well.
The end result becomes much more cost efficient and affordable, while allowing for maximum compliance with requirements, as well as the fluidity to adapt with the ever-changing pace of demand and supply. No special skills or coding needed. No intensive learning curve to wade through. Just simple yet powerful and actionable integration for the features that today’s SMBs need to thrive.
About Versago Platform
Versago is a web and mobile platform integrated with SAP Business One enabling the broader population of people and processes across a business’ ecosystem to leverage the power of SAP for every function supporting growth and operating efficiency.
Versago is easily configured to support multiple use-cases to grow your business. With its extensive library of pre-built functionality and workflows already integrated with SAP Business One, your business can be up and running in less than a day with no software development required.
Benefits of Versago & SAP Business One:
– People and Processes Always In-Sync with SAP Business One
– Simple User Experience, Low/ No Training
– One Configurable Platform vs. Multiple Apps
– Streamlined Processes with no SAP Manual Data-Entry Bottlenecks
– Paperless Processes
– Faster Customer <> Supplier Interactions
– Branded to Reflect Your Business
– Increased Customer Satisfaction with Digital Solutions
To learn more about how we enable companies to implement scalable ERP solutions, schedule a customized Business One demo with a Third Wave expert today.