As someone who loves technology geared toward the SMB, I found an article on the NY Times fascinating. It’s about small businesses who have begun marketing their own software as solutions built specifically for the SMB market. One solution, NetBooks, looks very promising.
Last week, I posted a notes about the release of SAP Business ByDesign. There are only a few vendors that offer an on-demand ERP product that includes everything from your standard accounting functions through inventory and customer management. SAP joins NetSuite and Salesboom in this regard. But even SAP targets businesses with more than 100 employees.
NetBooks is specifically focused on product based (as opposed to service based) businesses under 50 employees. The recorded demo shows a complete “call to cash” process. A sales order is created directly from the customer contact screen, and a shipping request is automatically created. Viewing the shipping request in an open orders view, the user is alerted that there is not enough inventory on hand. You change the request to a partial shipment and the system generates another shipping request for the remaining amount. An invoice is created, and payments are easily applied to receivables when collected.
Two areas lacking include integration with a web store and with point of sale systems. Both are only possible today in a manual fashion, although the company says automated integration is slated for a future release. I also don’t see any mention of payroll on the website. But, if you’ve read any of my prior posts, you’ll probably guess that I favor outsourcing your payroll responsibilities.
Pricing is right at $200/month for 5 users with additional users costing only $20. Your external accountant or bookkeeper gets free access to your data. And all your data is stored securely on the company’s servers so you don’t need to worry about installing and maintaining the software on your own servers.
This looks like a great development for small businesses.