Financing option gives SMBs access to ERP

Microsoft Australia has launched a financing option for both hardware and software implementations in partnership with Dutch asset-based financing company De Lage Landen to provide the cash.

North Queensland Cranes has already signed up for a $300,000 spend which includes implementation of a Navision ERP system.

According to the vendor, there is no upper limit for the loan, but there is a minimum amount of $15,000.

Stephen Goodson, IT systems administrator for North Queensland Cranes, expects to save around $60,000 a year by using ERP software designed and implemented by Microsoft partners such as Tectura.

He said the company couldn't realistically look at a full ERP system without such leasing arrangements, because initial costs were too prohibitive.

"The rough figures are looking at around $160,000 for the software licensing, a further $160,000-odd for the full implementation, plus an additional $20,000 for hardware," Goodson said.

"We could not afford an ERP without going down the financing trail. We have 70 employees and a $15 million turnover and previously were spending almost $400,000 on an ERP package and couldn't justify that cost."

Goodson said the company manages 4000 cranes which generates a lot of invoices.

He said the project began in March and the goal is to "flick the switch" in July.

Under the financing arrangement, the company is paying 7.9 percent interest to De Lage Landen.

Elizabeth Aris, finance project lead at Microsoft, said the financing option was launched in response to budgetary constraints many Australian companies experience.

"Traditional sources of financing, such as IT hardware vendors and banks, have preferred to fund hard assets rather than software, so customers have had to turn to other niche financial offerings, which have offered uncompetitive or inflexible terms," Aris said.

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