3 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2010

Prasad Akella is vice president of SME Solution Marketing at SAP, where he is responsible for the business management and business intelligence solutions targeting small and medium businesses. He has worked in the United States, Japan and India in a variety of roles, including research and development, mergers and acquisitions, and business development.

Q. How might businesses be able to benefit from installing an ERP system or software?

Most companies are trying to do two things. One is to get their basic operations figured out so they can improve their efficiency. The second is to ask basic questions: How do I plan and forecast better? How do I make better decisions for my company? If you dig down, the most important things are accounting and financials. The nuts and bolts of running the company become essential. The problem statement almost always is, ‘I don’t know where I am,’ or, ‘I know where I am, but I want to do better.’ Once you recognize that growth and efficiency ambition, the decision to go with a proper ERP solution is almost a no-brainer.

Q. How much data and information can a business save on an ERP system?

What we are finding is that the volume of data is not an issue. It’s reaching the point now where, for almost all of our customers, we know that the technology will let us run everything on memory, meaning you don’t need to pull data from a hard drive, that it’s all on the computer all the time.

Q. Will businesses need to spend more time or money on the system after the initial investment?

For small businesses, an ERP system probably takes care of most of their needs. But as you move up and increase the complexity, you start needing the complementary functionality around ERP. ERP is the hub. Once you have a rock-solid ERP system and you have a good handle on where you are, you can start asking for more and you can get a better idea of what you need to add. I would rather have my customers buying what they need because they need it than because they read about it.

Prasad Akella is vice president of SME Solution Marketing at SAP, where he is responsible for the business management and business intelligence solutions targeting small and medium businesses. He has worked in the United States, Japan and India in a variety of roles, including research and development, mergers and acquisitions, and business development.