A version of this post originally ran on Craft Brewing Business
Craft brewers, winemakers, and cider makers are often stretched in numerous directions, running their businesses at warp speed. Even after a full day of production, there’s a ton of operational responsibilities to manage. Accessing information in real time can become unmanageable if they’re using a combination of computer tools, paper, and/or white board collections to track their operations.
If this sounds familiar, it might be time to consider investing in a business management software solution — one system that manages how many products, batches, recipes, tasks, and inventory items your business has and uses. It’s actually not that complicated. But what can be complicated is the decision between choosing a cloud-based system or on-premise software.
Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise Software
On-premise software lives within your facility on your owned systems and can only be accessed from specific computers. You buy the software and the hardware, and you run that system in-house including all the maintenance, upgrades, security, and other ongoing needs. It’s a lot to manage, especially if you don’t have a dedicated IT team on site to handle issues with that hardware.
Cloud-based software, on the other hand, is available any time on any device over the internet. Think of the email, document sharing, or calendar service you use (e.g. Office 365, Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.) — all your emails, appointments, and documents aren’t stored on your computer’s hard drive. That would take up a lot of space. Instead, that info is physically stored elsewhere and accessed by your computer via an internet connection. Cloud-based software is regularly updated and your vendor takes care of security, storage, and overall maintenance without any extra effort or costs on your end.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Business Management Software
As your business grows, and so does the amount of data you have, on-premise solutions require expensive hardware upgrades just to ensure you have enough storage space for your data. This is, of course, not ideal. If you expect significant growth any time in the next few years, a cloud-based solution will likely fit your team’s needs best as you can easily upgrade your software solution without having the hardware to go with it. Let the tech professionals handle the nitty gritty details.
Work from Anywhere
With on-premise software, only devices that have physical access to the database will be able to work in the system — meaning your teams who are often on the road, like sales and delivery, will have to wait until they’re in the office to update the status of invoices, deliveries, payments, and more. This communication lag isn’t practical when the success of your business depends on each team having access to up-to-date critical information regarding the sales and production processes.
More Robust Mobile Features
Many cloud-based software you look at will have some sort of mobile app, but trust us when we say that not all apps are created equal. When you choose a company with an on-premise solution, understand that many of the features that you use in the desktop version of the platform may be unavailable on mobile or tablet devices due to how much data is required.
Focus on Your Product, Not Your Computers
How much do you know about managing servers? Is it in your budget to hire at least one dedicated IT professional to manage and troubleshoot IT-related issues for you? If not, an on-premise solution is likely unwise for your team. When you’re busy managing your business, you don’t want to be pulled away to deal with computer issues. Save yourself the headache.
How Business Management Software Fits in with Other Tech
Do you already use other pieces of technology to help your team communicate and share information better? Cloud-based business management software can be another (BIG!) piece of the puzzle that closes the gap among teams and helps you operate seamlessly from day to day. Other vital software for craft businesses include:
- Accounting software: Track financial information and prepare tax documentation. Look for a business management system that integrates with your accounting software to gain greater efficiencies.
- Point of Sale (POS) systems: If you have a tasting room, taproom, or brewpub, you need a digital POS system to make processing payments easy.
- Communication apps: For instant communication. Easily create “channels” for each team so that team members can quickly share updates as needed.
- Ecommerce platform: Online alcohol sales are growing in popularity and consumers expect to be able to order your beer, wine, or cider from the comfort of their home. Consider setting up an online store to take pre-orders for pickup, ship direct to consumers (if allowed in your state), or deliver locally.
Get the Benefits with Ekos
Cloud-based business management software for your craft beverage business that is safe, scalable, and user-friendly does exist — and you can get all the benefits we mentioned above when you partner with Ekos. At Ekos, we are committed to helping craft makers scale and grow their operations with intuitive business management tools. Our proprietary software helps you optimize your inventory, production, sales, and accounting processes all in one easy-to-use system that is tailored to the needs of winemakers, craft brewers, and cidermakers. Each registered user on your team gets their own custom dashboard based on their specific role. We work with you directly to get your team set up and ensure you feel comfortable using Ekos as part of your daily routine. Plus, with unlimited customer support and an expansive Knowledge Base filled with helpful instructional resources, we’re always here to help.