Homebuilding requires extensive management and oversight. Depending on the size of the company and the number of ongoing projects, many homebuilders have to keep track of hundreds of contracts, manage material acquisition for several homes and oversee work progress for various subcontractors.
Because there is so much needed to manage purchase orders, work progress, and business intelligence, outdated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems lack the interconnectivity and automation required for a fully optimized business experience.
While small, industry-focused legacy ERP solutions may seem like the best option for builders, more robust options such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offer more customization and functionality, integrate with other systems, and offer a robust solution ecosystem that allows you to incorporate familiar productivity apps like Microsoft 365, PowerApps, and PowerBI, making them the best solution for homebuilders that want to scale.
Differences Between Business Central and Focused Legacy Solutions
The term “legacy” refers to outdated software systems still in use. These systems often lack critical functionality like cloud processing, interconnectivity with third-party applications and automation.
Small, legacy ERP solutions are a go-to for many homebuilders because they are industry-specific. These applications offer basic functions and features, such as reporting, accounting, purchasing, sales, and design portals. However, although these ERPs benefit from their industry-specific design, they have their fair share of drawbacks.
For instance, legacy, industry-specific ERP providers may not have the budget that larger ERP providers do, meaning they have to work with limited teams and cannot update systems or add new functionalities as quickly as needed. In addition, most of these systems do not operate in the cloud, meaning homebuilders must swallow the costs of housing and maintaining hardware onsite.
Although these systems may offer just enough functionality for small businesses, a well-rounded ERP solution is essential for homebuilders that are growing or looking to scale.
Unlike older or less developed options, Microsoft Business Central is an ERP solution connected to a broad ecosystem of tools and applications. Although Microsoft designed Business Central for general use, it’s simple to integrate third-party applications to provide industry-specific features.
Business Central gives you the flexibility to deploy native, home builder industry solutions, like HomeBuilder by Suite Engine, or integrate with third-party homebuilder applications, so you can access all of the functionality available with small, industry-specific ERPs, and many more.
Top 5 Benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for Homebuilders
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central connects with everything in Microsoft’s ecosystem. This means that when you migrate to BC, you will not only have the option to connect to Microsoft’s state-of-the-art applications (Word, Outlook, PowerApps, Power BI, etc.), you will also have access to frequent updates and be able to see data from every area of your organization in a central location.
For example, instead of editing an Excel file and emailing it to half a dozen people (and then relying on them to see your changes and make a note of them), you can open Excel, make a change and save it. Then, that change will be reflected across your entire system.
In addition to accessing Microsoft’s vast software ecosystem, here are five more benefits for homebuilders who switch to Business Central.
A downfall of legacy ERP systems is they lack the ability to be customized. For example, if you begin using a legacy ERP and realize you need a unique feature or workflow, you will have to request an update and hope that the developers will implement your request. Unfortunately, even if the ERP provider does create a custom workflow to accommodate you, you will have to wait months (or years) to begin using it.
Because Business Central is an open solution, you can extend or build out functionality and custom integrations to meet your needs. For instance, if you wanted to use Salesforce as your CRM and selling system, you could easily connect the systems. In addition, if there is something unique about your business that you need a custom solution for, and you are willing to invest in building it, you can either make it yourself or work with a partner to do so.
Homebuilders deal with a lot of paperwork, especially when managing several builds at once. Business Central has several built-in automation options, many of which are based on artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. Automation reduces the number of steps needed to complete workflows and helps to eliminate unnecessary manual tasks such as data entry. With this feature, your team can focus on more strategic responsibilities rather than being bogged down with paperwork.
Business Central is a true cloud solution, meaning everything from data storage to operations takes place in the cloud. Cloud computing is not only faster, but it is also safer, cheaper and more reliable. In addition, with cloud functionality, you won’t have to worry about maintaining any infrastructure onsite – saving you time, human resources, and money.
Small legacy ERPs are, unfortunately, prone to cybercrime. Clients often approach us after falling victim to phishing, ransomware, and other cyberattacks. These attacks often result from hosting critical information on an under-protected ERP or on-premise hardware. It is hard to match the level of investment Microsoft has poured into its security measures. With round-the-clock monitoring and frequent updates, Business Central is one of the safest ERPs on the market.
Real-time insights are critical if you manage several homebuilding projects across multiple locations. By connecting your systems, onsite and on the field, you can see information from every corner of your business, including project progression, subcontractor productivity, timelines, budget constraints, and material pricing and availability.
Small, industry-focused legacy ERP solutions may look good on paper, but they often lack the functionality homebuilders need to scale. With Business Central, homebuilders have access to all of the traditional bells and whistles as well as a broad ecosystem of powerful solutions and applications, all at your fingertips. Contact our team of industry experts to learn more or schedule a consultation.