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How to determine whether my current ERP system is too big for my business

Having the ability to scale up is vital for any ERP system that your business currently uses, however it can often be quite difficult to find the right balance. 

You will find that certain ERP systems such as Sage 50 and QuickBooks are only really used by a minimal number of users. This means that these systems are unlikely to be used by businesses looking for hundreds of users to be on their ERP system. You may find that certain ERP systems such as SAP One are designed to be used on a larger scale which could include small amounts of users, but the problem is that wouldn’t make sense from a financial point of view. 

This takes us nicely into the other option, Business Central which doesn’t fall into either of the above categories. In the Business Central/NAV side of the business here at Advantage, you will find that the number of users varies across businesses with some as little as 2 or 3 and some in the hundreds. When it comes to data, some of our Business Central/NAV customers have small amounts of data whereas others could cover terabytes worth. 

From this, you can see why scale is demonstrated in both the user count and data size, however this measure isn’t totally without fault. It could be the case where you have hundreds of users that are using minimal amounts of data. 

You will see that large scale is determined by the number of transactions taking place across the business. To give you an example of this, an e-commerce platform could be churning out thousands of orders each day. 

From the above example, you can see how Business Central and NAV are running at a large scale which is largely powered by the SQL and Azure SQL as well as the Azure Cloud that enables resources to be increased as the system demand grows in the business. However, like many things in life, being able to scale up isn't as simple as just adding resources some tough questions need to be answered followed by some tough decisions. Even though Dynamics 365 Business Central has the capability to be scaled down or up at the drop of a hat which is nice to have, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can be used for large scale systems. 

To put this into context in the form of an example, let’s just discuss the ability to post the cost of each stock movement to the G/L with each transaction. If this feature is switched off, it will be done in batches which is common in other large-scale systems. You will also see that there is a function that enables you to create a dimension reporting set of records for the General Ledger, either automated for each post or in batches again making the right choice in deciding in either ‘in batch’ to scale or even more certain is the fact that your scale systems need a reporting strategy. 

It important to take note of the last point made. Of course, it is understood that you can report on whatever you want within Business Central or NAV, however large systems are usually backed up by critical reporting strategies such as data warehouses and tools such as PowerBI to ensure that your ERP system is operating to its full potential. 

To take this one step further, you also need to have strategies built around archiving, added to which if you have your data in a reporting repository, you can be a lot harsher on the data that you retain in your ERP system. 

It is important to understand that Business Central is far more advanced than when it started as NAV with its proprietary database and two-tier architecture. Business Central has been created using a Cloud first model which can easily be scaled up as your business grows. 

Next Steps? 

If you are a business that is looking to upgrade your ERP system to Business Central, are looking to conduct a full Microsoft Dynamics System Audit with Advantage or are keen to explore all the reporting options that we have available then please call our team of ERP experts now to discuss what you require. 

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