Business management software isn't the exclusive preserve of enormous corporations anymore. With the advent of cloud systems, they make just as much as sense for small business (once you've worked through a few basic decision points). But what choices do you have?
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When large companies deploy this kind of solution, it's often described as enterprise resource planning or ERP. While small business may not have quite such grandiose ambitions or so many staff or customers to deal with, the fundamental functions of ERP-style software are still very useful, and cloud systems make them attainable for those businesses.
We've outlined some of the main contenders in the list below. These aren't full-blown reviews; because individual business needs are so specific, it's hard to specifically recommend any solution, and most of the providers listed here offer multiple solutions you can choose from depending on your needs and what else you want to integrate into your online system. For each provider, hit the link to visit their site and get more detailed information: most offer a trial option if you want to try them out.
JCurve's offerings run across three basic packages:
- Go, priced at $49 per user month, offers basic finance, payroll, inventory and customer management.
- Grow, now also priced at $49 per user month, expands that to a full system covering accounting, inventory, HR and administration.
- Pro, priced at $125 per user month, expands Grow and adds more marketing and sales tools for larger companies.
JCurve uses NetSuite as its base platform, customising it for smaller businesses (especially those with under 20 employees). If you have especially complex needs or a larger workforce, the full-blown NetSuite package might be more suitable. There's no public pricing on its site.
Salesforce.com's basic offering, priced from $21 per user per month, is centred on sales force automation and customer relationship management. However, you can extend that through its Force.com platform and App Exchange store with a wide range of offerings covering every aspect of business management. Pricing for its more complex and customisable editions ranges from $95 to $360 per user per month.
Got additional recommendations for this list? Tell us in the comments. (Note that we're not looking here at packages designed purely for accounting, which we've covered in the past.)
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