The year has only begun, and a couple of software providers have already announced their intent to focus more exclusively on enterprise businesses in times ahead. In this environment, fears are growing that smaller producers, start-ups, and specialist food ventures might soon be losing access to business critical ERP software.
As major software vendors are becoming more picky about their ideal clients, specialist food producers will be required to look for creative solutions to the major challenges of our times: food safety regulations, compliance, and packaging and waste.
Ever-changing, ever-complex food safety regulations
The BRC (British Retail Consortium) standard aside, frequently changing food regulations are becoming increasingly difficult to manage. The strain of keeping up with newly recognised allergens on the one hand, and ingredients freshly cleared of wrongdoing on the other, will be mainly felt by start-up ventures.
When it comes to the BRC standard, even the one-man producer of cupcakes is required to understand the nitty-gritty (from day one of operations). Working towards this standard will be a long-term pursuit that few will achieve.
Packaging & waste
Management of packaging and waste is one of the key problems that F&B manufacturers will have to overcome in 2017. The challenge goes beyond adapting processes and packaging models to reduce waste. Manufacturers will now have to collect relevant business intelligence and analyse this data, if they want to fulfil reporting requirements.
Enterprise-level software for small businesses
Getting access to the software functionality that aids in resolving these problems is bound to weigh heavily on smaller organisations. In response, many will be looking to their existing software vendors to provide them with a package that’s scaled to their business size.
Developing a software package that suits the specialist’s needs and pocket
In 2017, Lakeview remains committed to working with niche producers, small businesses and start-ups. Our mission is to provide small ventures with a complete package of business critical software, covering everything from accounts through to size order processing. Business intelligence, packaging and waste, BRC enablement, and more: we’ve got you covered.
In developing a software package for specialist producers, we considered not only the budget of our smaller clients, but also their need to keep up with the latest technological advancements.
The need for mobile
Over the years we have seen an increasing number of firms moving towards mobile applications that allow them to operate on an always-on, always-available, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) basis. More and more people are craving the flexibility to work from anywhere, whether it’s from a coffee shop or on a customer’s site, where they need some quick information relating to that customer.
The desire for an integrated solution
A second trend we’ve seen is the move towards aligning business applications into a single, integrated system. While an ERP solution would manage aspects like stock accounts, purchasing and manufacturing, businesses also need access to standard office solutions like Office 365.
The move to Cloud
In addition to gravitating to mobile and integrated systems, more people want to move away from on-premise solutions. Small enterprises, in particular, would prefer to go without having their own server rooms and employing a full-time IT manager to take care of backups, security, disaster recovery, business continuity, etc.
The solution: a one-stop-shop
In response, Lakeview’s focus for 2017 is to provide more businesses with an all-in-one solution, a complete hosted desktop environment that is:
- all encompassing, integrating business applications with Office 365, collaboration tools such as Skype for business and SharePoint,
- Cloud-based, which removes the need to have a service on site, and
- available on mobile.
From Capex to Opex
One of the most valuable aspects of a hosted desktop model is that it allows businesses to move from a Capex (capital expenditure) to an Opex (operational expenditure) solution. Leasing or renting the hardware and software at a predetermined rate instead of buying doesn’t only aid in business forecasting and budgeting, but is also a tax-deductible expense.
A hosted desktop is modular by nature, which allows users the flexibility to:
- pick and choose the modules they want included in their software system,
- add third-party software of their choice, such as a telephone system,
- phase modules in or out over time, and
- scale user accounts up or down as the business grows, shifts change, or as the season requires.
Agile software for volatile times
In today’s volatile economy it’s become very rare to see a business with a straight-line revenue and income stream. The challenge for small businesses will be to find software solutions to industry-related challenges that are flexible enough to adapt to their unique and changing business needs. While major software vendors might be giving the little guys the boot, specialists are bound to flock to the flexibility and scalability of Cloud-based services.