Choosing new business management or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for your small or mid-sized business doesn't have to be a complicated process, but the outcome will have important long-term consequences. Choose correctly, and your new solution can help you achieve the control and insight you need to take your business forward with confidence. Choose incorrectly, and you risk diverting time, money, and management focus to making the solution work instead of making your business succeed. We've created a 7-point checklist to help you conduct your research process. This week, we look at how the right business management solution can help reduce your overall risk. Operating a business—managing people, manufacturing or procuring your product, warehousing and distributing it, setting your pricing strategy, engaging customers, competing against other organizations as eager to succeed as you are—all of this creates business risk. Lots of things can go wrong. Lots of details need attention. The right solution helps you tend to business by providing integrated, end-to-end visibility across your operation; delivering timely, relevant information that keeps you on top of the details; and streamlining your business processes for peak performance. The result is reduced core business risk. Unexpected developments—economic downturns or new technologies, customer preferences, or competitors, for example—can also put your business at risk. You need to spot these developments and counter them before they cause trouble. The right business solution delivers critical information and provides built-in business intelligence tools to help your team identify trends, spot opportunities, and capitalize on them quickly and efficiently. Sticking with your underperforming accounting software or outdated legacy systems limits your growth and business potential. But selecting, deploying, and using a new business management solution may involve risks of its own. How stable is the vendor? Will they be around for the long term? How user-friendly is the solution? Will your people need a lot of training to use it? How easy—and affordable—will it be to deploy, maintain, upgrade, modify, and extend? You can avoid the risks underlying these questions by choosing a stable vendor known for innovation, one that delivers easy-to-use solutions supported by local implementation partners who understand your business. A business solution from Microsoft can help you reduce risk A business solution from Microsoft goes beyond stand-alone accounting or ERP software creating an integrated, end-to-end view of your entire business. By bringing together the business applications that manage your business processes, with productivity tools that manage your calendar, tasks, and communications, you get everything you need for your people and your business with a single sign-on and integrated user experience. In addition, Microsoft’s unique combination of business intelligence, collaboration, and communication tools are embedded throughout our business management solution providing an intuitive and familiar user experience that increases user adoption and inspires productivity. Customer success story Small and mid-sized businesses around the world trust business management solutions from Microsoft to help them reduce risk so they can move forward with confidence. Check out the experience of one UK print firm, highlighted below. Stephens & George Print Group “The system has given us clarity in our thinking, turning decisions that traditionally could have been seen as risky into actions based on solid facts.” - Andrew Jones, Group Managing Director Needs Benefits Improved productivity Streamlined business processes One system that integrates all business processes Seamless dataflow Business growth accommodated by same staff; cost savings 4-day stock management process reduced to 1 hour 10-day monthly invoicing workload reduced to 3 days Improved customer service Improved factory throughput and sales planning Integrated business solution reduces risk Learn more about a business solution from Microsoft, take a product test drive, register for an upcoming webcast, or just read more about our solutions.