Common knowledge has it that the more a company grows, the more complex daily operations become.
Adam Drewes has spent the last year fighting against that dictum.
As the general manager behind enterprise resource planning at Greenville-based tech company Kopis, Drewes spends a lot of his time trying to translate headache-inducing complexities into simple, intuitive interfaces.
Just consider your typical ERP, which integrates the broad array of business processes — your order management, accounting, human resources, customer relationship management and more — into one central system.
“The goal is to streamline things, so there’s a lot more power in the ERP, and it can handle a lot more complexities,” Drewes said, “but the caveat is it basically makes the user experience a lot more complex.”
In years prior, only large-scale companies like manufacturers would even consider implementing an ERP system. The cost alone, all that equipment and regular maintenance, made the barrier to entry impossible for smaller companies. But with the advent of cloud services, companies no longer have to pay for expensive servers, and that means an increasing number of small- to midlevel outfits are switching to ERPs.
That’s the market to which Kopis’ new product, Adept, caters. An add-on for Microsoft’s ERP system Dynamics 365 Business Central, Adept keeps common workflows for 90% of the accounting functions, combined with a streamlined onboarding process. In other words, it keeps things simple for companies that still would like the benefits of an ERP but don’t have the time or resources to go through a long, grinding process of acclimation.
“Most people implementing a new ERP system will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of time to get up and rolling,” Drewes said.
With Adept, Drewes hopes to democratize growth for companies that otherwise wouldn’t be able to implement an ERP system. He said it’s a part of a broader philosophy of breaking down barriers to entry for smaller operators, the same mindset that allowed amateur filmmakers to create movies inexpensively on their iPhones or musicians to compose through readily available software as opposed to buying expensive instruments.
“Just imagine if the cost of switching to a powerful system was low enough that you could start using it before you entangled your company in a web of manual and convoluted processes and Excel sheets,” he said. “We want to stop Excel hell before it starts.”
What is ERP?
Enterprise resource planning is the integrated management of main business processes, often in real time and mediated by software and technology.