Business Support Systems

My business has zero cashflow in January. That means I hoard cash from Christmas until February. That makes for a rather stressful time.

As I am also attempting to migrate our accounts and stock system to . an Open Source ERP+CRM program. That’s Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management for you non-jargon types (NigelW, it’s not important that you understand it!).

I’d prefer open source because we don’t have any source code for our current system. I don’t ever want to be locked into one vendor again.

Secondly it’s free. Aha! I hear you say, Cheapskate! No really, but that did cross my mind. I mean “free” as in speach more than “free” as in beer. Which would you prefer in business or wealth creation, Free Speach or Free Beer?

The fact that it is free as in beer is a bit of a pain. There aren’t many Australian companies supporting it yet. Those that are are either very busy, very expensive or both. I got an initial quote from one company that was more expensive than a mature product suitable for a public company.

As a result I am doing it on the cheap, partly because there is no cashflow at the moment and partly bcause I haven’t found affordable outside help.

The lesson however is that not using outside help is more expensive in time and effort than paying someone who does this for a living. I think reinventing the wheel is false economy.

It’s a bit like people who want to do there own conveyancing (legal work in buying a property) to save the money. If they want to do it for the intellectual exercise, good luck to them. But there are too many things to go wrong and the consequences are too severe. If the deal is so marginal that the legal bill is important, I’d say the deal is too marginal.

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