Small business ERP systems are available either as client server or cloud hosted system, and each one have many benefits – OnSite is available in both options. Which one is better for your company? Let’s start with some of the benefits of client-server software:
Software solutions for business that you host on a client-server are ideal if your business already has a strong IT infrastructure in place, and the resources to support and administer it.
Having your system and all of your electronic files on site can be useful because everything is in one place. It’s more secure than an Internet-based solution because it’s harder to steal electronic information stored in a desktop system — the main way to steal offline information would be the difficult process of stealing the physical hardware. In contrast, anything connected to the Internet is at risk from hacking, although with advancing technology and more and more local computer to cloud connections, the difference in security between the two is diminishing. Many business owners also just like the fact that their important company information is consolidated and in-house.
Hosting your business software in-house also makes troubleshooting simple (assuming you have a competent IT department), since you can do it yourself instead of waiting for the host to do so at a remote location should problems occur. The costs of keeping your ERP on a server are also lower in the long run, since you pay a single upfront cost and then low monthly or yearly costs afterward. Cloud-hosted services typically have higher monthly costs that continue as long as you use the business software.
The other option, the Cloud-hosted software, is equally popular and has many benefits. Here are some of the main benefits associated with cloud-hosted systems:
Cloud hosted software is hosted offsite, and is accessible from any computer through the Internet. This allows employees to use your system from any connected device, instead of just those computers in your office on which you’ve installed the decorated apparel ERP business software.
These systems also take up far less space, since you don’t need an extensive IT infrastructure to host the entire system in-house, and they cost less upfront, since there is a monthly fee instead of a large one-time payment and smaller yearly installments. Implementation can also be more streamlined, as the cloud hosted solution is set up quickly by the pros at the ERP service provider and not a long installation process handled by your own IT department.
Cloud hosted ERP systems are updated more regularly, since they don’t require physical installation onsite. They also lower your payroll costs, since you don’t need such a large in-house IT department to support your entire business infrastructure, not to mention saving you the expensive headaches of maintaining and upgrading your own server and software. Your company information and files are also safe if something happens to your hardware, and even theft of your hardware doesn’t equate to loss of your business information.
As for security, cloud servers are more prone to hacking than desktop systems, but usually have a level of redundancy. Therefore, if someone does hack in, or if the server fails, the cloud system usually has backups and secondary servers ready to kick in to replace it. If you handle your ERP system entirely in-house, however, and the server fails, most companies do not have systems in place to deal with it, since extra servers cost much time and money.
The difference between the two methods of hosting software solutions for business is like the difference between renting and owning a car. You have all the benefits of transportation when you rent, but you don’t have to take care of maintenance. The trade-off is the higher monthly and overall cost in the long run. The decision between which is best for you depends on the nature of your business.
Whichever type of solution you choose, the best small business ERP systems are those that are comprehensive and can handle all your essential business tasks. Not only that, good ERP systems should include basic tools such as a calendar, backup and recovery system (by far the most important part of any piece of software), a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for leads, and web integration (particularly e-Commerce and email marketing integration). We at Shopworks developed OnSite and the rest of the Shopworks product lineup to handle everything your business needs to work.
For requirements for our client-side system, see our Hardware and Software Requirements page. For details on our cloud hosted system, see our Documents page. For an overview of OnSite, see our OnSite page.