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SAP Business One as Part of Global ERP System

This application is often considered as entry level for small to midsize businesses to replace small business accounting packages such as QuickBooks or Peachtree.

However we see growing interest in implementing Business One as second tier or Corporate ERP in multinational companies.  Important points here in our opinion are strategic hosting architecture, integration with the first tier as well as consolidated financial reporting.  SAP B1 is geared to serve as ERP application with distribution, manufacturing and field service elements for overseas branches where the scale of operations might exclude the option to expand first tier due to limited budget.  In the sense of ERP localization SAP BO is localized in majority of countries and supports such features as Unicode, multicurrency and data export into Excel or directly from SQL Server hosted company database.  Let’s review popular questions and answer regarding international expansion and restructuring your Corporate ERP:

1. ‘We are growing through acquisitions and why don’t we just keep existing production accounting packages?’  It is possible to have this approach for a while.  However with increasing the number of branches the mosaic of your accounting is becoming more and more rich and complex.  Here you can think about the following problems.  First one is the necessity to compile consolidated financial reporting: balance sheet, P&L and possible Statement of Cash Flow.  When you have dozen of accounting platform to export data from, reshuffle it and produce final statements version takes time and becomes vulnerable to human errors in data processing.  Second, such a mosaic often depends on local servers hosted directly in the overseas subsidiaries and might result in losing IT and management control over the branches.  Complexity of internal audit – you cannot expect your internal auditors to know dozen of foreign languages and user interface of overseas accounting packages.  It is much more elegant to have only two tiers where each one is presented by single application

2. Hosting Strategy.  Business One has three tiers architecture by itself and in our opinion it is critical to host database, application server and user interface server in one central location or likely in your headquarters.  This strategy depends on internet bandwidth in your foreign office and this is probably commodity nowadays.  Central hosting gives you several options to provide user interface where good ideas to consider would be Citrix, Microsoft Terminal Services or competing technologies.  Centralized hosting reduces IT cost across the whole group and provides strong IT, Managerial and Financial control.  The advantages might be apparent and why do we talking about it?  There are numerous reasons and one of them is the tendency for semi-independent international branch to find local consulting firm and implement application on the local server.  Also resellers located in foreign country are often restricted to selling licenses to its geographical region only and therefore are not interested to help you worldwide

3. Tax Compliance in the foreign countries.  SAP is making its best efforts to follow Small Business ERP localization standards in each country and region.  In foreign countries however you might be at the dilemma of providing required compliance only or going further and provide additional ‘recommended’ compliance.  The question is very delicate for central IT decision makers as it is often the case that foreign CPA or Controller sees hundred percent of compliance as their top priority and something that makes local consulting firm better positioned to implement SAP B1 for their respected subsidiary with local software licenses purchase and installation on the server hosted in the foreign branch.  It is difficult to do generic recommendation as each situation is unique.  However we believe that centralized control is more important in comparison to advanced level of compliance.  Consider also central implementation worldwide with small subcontracts to local firms to provide compliance

4. Unicode.  Traditionally ASCII table recommended one byte standard for alphabets coding, including Latin, Cyrillic and Arabic based alphabets.  However this concept doesn’t work for the languages based on hieroglyphs as the number of hieroglyphs exceeds two hundred fifty six.  In order to cover all world alphabets and their letters or hieroglyphs Unicode standard was introduced where each character is coded in two bytes.  Modern computing technologies are advancing and additional space required for storing is no longer a concern probably.  SAP B1 supports Unicode and this is why it is open to such languages in user interface as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.  There are often questions regarding Russian and Arabic alphabets or do they require Unicode.  The answer is no – even if Cyrillic looks strange and complex the number of Russian letters is comparable to Latin alphabet and the same could be told about Arabic.  Please note that SAP BO doesn’t support Arabic user interface at this time

5. Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904 (for international customers, where our representative pick up the phone in St. Joseph, MI call center). help@efaru.com. We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, South West Michigan and Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed). Our consultants speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese. We feature our expertise is in International Business.  We provide second opinion in SB1 data migrationFeature Articles, customization and reporting

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Andrew Karasev is SAP Business One Consultant and Great Plains Certified Master, MVP, help@efaru.com 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project http://www.efaru.com and founder of Alba Spectrum information space.  By the nature of our service we are helping customers USA, Canada nationwide and internationally with consulting force speaking in English, Russian, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese



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