6 Feb 2013 8:45 AM Choose business management software that delivers control, productivity, and the insight you need to grow Your new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution can help accelerate profitable long-term growth for your business-or slow it down. An underpowered solution might be cheaper to implement now, but if it lacks capabilities that support and drive growth without adding costly headcount or future upgrades, it could ultimately cost you more in the long run. On the other hand, a powerful solution that's difficult to deploy, use, and maintain creates its own set of growth-hindering problems, including high costs and low utilization. The right choice will deliver the ideal set of growth-supporting capabilities in a solution that's easy to use and maintain. We've created a 10-point checklist to help you search for your ideal solution in an orderly and thorough way. We've examined one point from the checklist each week over the past several weeks. You can review the series to date by clicking on the link for each individual post: Goes beyond traditional ERP Offers deployment flexibility and choice Features strong customer-vendor relationships Integrates easily with other LOB applications Delivers ease of use Provides cost predictability Enables forward-looking insight Delivers ongoing innovation This week, we stress the value of choosing a business management solution that's built to support, and actually help you drive, the growth of your business. Choose a solution designed to help you manage a growing business You're in the market for a new business management solution because the tools you're now using just aren't suited for the growth you're planning-or already achieving. They cover the basics, but their inefficiency and lack of cost-effectiveness are apparent every time you close a period, and particularly when you do something new like enter a new market or add a new product line. Look ahead and you see more roadblocks to hamper growth: slow performance, or inefficient system management, or simultaneous user limits, or the inability to handle multiple currencies. How do you avoid these headaches and find a solution that supports and drives growth? Here are three elements to insist on. More control. If your growth strategy includes starting or acquiring new operations, you want a business solution that can be quickly and easily extended to include them, so you can compare and keep tabs on every part of your business as it grows. International operations? Look for a solution that supports multiple languages and currencies. And be sure to choose a solution that addresses all your business processes, from order entry to customer credit policies. Increased productivity. Powerful new capabilities help streamline operations across your business. Reduce inventory levels and days sales outstanding, for example. Cut down on manual data entry and increase inventory turns. Do more with less: add new business without comparable payroll increases. Actions like these improve productivity-and the cash flow to fund growth. Deeper insight. Give your people, wherever they're located, convenient, 24/7 access to accurate, consistent, timely information. This supports the collaborative, informed decisions that drive growth. A business solution from Microsoft helps you focus on growth It's difficult to drive growth when you're busy deploying, learning, and maintaining technology. A business solution from Microsoft is easy to learn and use, and gives you the flexibility to deploy in the way that works best for you now and in the future. It easily scales to grow with your business, and most importantly, it's sold and implemented by a world-class network of partners with deep industry expertise and technical knowledge. Fixed-scope implementations offered by our partners and RapidStart deployments help get you up and running in days with less risk to your business. Many customers have actually made the switch for the same cost as upgrading to the next version of their current software. And compatibility with other Microsoft technology you have now helps you get more long-term value from these IT investments, too. Customer success story Small and midsize businesses around the world choose business solutions from Microsoft because they support and help drive profitable growth. Here's just one example-a U.K. furniture company that took advantage of better control, added productivity, and deeper insight to expand sales volume from existing customers and increase overall profits. Birlea Furniture "Within two days, our Microsoft [Dynamics] solution had helped us achieve an extra £15,000 in sales.... Moving to Microsoft Dynamics is one of the best business decisions we've ever made." Sarah Leach, Financial Controller Needs Benefits Greater ease of use More efficient system operation Lower system support costs Multiple-currency capabilities More efficient system backup Paperless invoicing, ordering, stock reporting Support for direct home delivery Mobile tracking Streamlined business processes Improved customer service, driving improved retention Join us next week for the final post in our 10-part series, when we'll urge you to thoroughly test the ability of each solution you're evaluating to help you reduce business risk. Until then, learn more about a business solution from Microsoft, take a product test drive, or register for an upcoming webcast.