Single-Instance vs Multi-Instance ERP

PostedOn: 2017-06-20 12:37:50

With everything businesses must concern themselves with accounting, personnel, products, marketing, sales is it any wonder that many end up running applications they don’t need? Many companies begin running a single-instance enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, but as they try to keep up with increasing workloads, improving technology, or advancing productivity, they may need to consider multiple instances as an alternative. So, how do you decide when a single- or multiple-instance ERP solution is right for you?

An ERP instance is simply an installation of an ERP application. Therefore, a single-instance ERP solution is one that uses the ERP system for all your business operations on either the front end or the back end. Multiple-instance ERP solutions are commonly used by businesses that operate globally to accommodate each country’s needs or financial systems.

A few areas to consider when comparing single-instance to multiple-instance ERP solutions include: 

  • Cost;
  • Downtime;
  • Database limitations; and
  • The ability to modify, customize, and configure the chosen solution. 

Both single- and multi-instance ERP solutions have their pros and cons. Base your decision about which ERP method to implement in your company on the factors that most directly affect your business needs.

Cost

When it comes to costs, the prize goes to single-instance ERP. Requiring a smaller investment and fewer resources, a single-instance ERP solution has considerably lower maintenance and upkeep costs than multiple-instance ERP systems. In addition, you avoid the cost of server licenses, subscriptions, additional deployment environments, and personnel.

Downtime

Whether for maintenance or because of an emergency or technical difficulty, every company will inevitably experience downtime. What’s most important is the length of that downtime and how the business recovers from the incident. With a single-instance ERP solution, downtimes can last longer and cost more because you have the limited alternatives. In contrast, multiple-instance ERP systems can diminish the negative impact, risks, or potential loss resulting from downtime, especially when dealing with multiple time zones.

Database Limitations

Access to your database and stored data is vital for running your business, so limitations can be disruptive and hinder production. Multiple-instance ERP solutions offer an alternative to the database limitations that may arise with single-instance ERP systems in that they offer improved performance with large deployments. In addition, you can resolve the collation issues associated with single-instance ERP solutions through the scalability of multiple-instance ERP systems.

The Ability to Modify, Customize, and Configure the Solution

ERP systems are among the most customized software applications, offering businesses the ability to modify, personalize, and configure their software to suit their needs. Are these personalization features affected when you choose a single-instance versus a multi-instance ERP system?

When customizing a single-instance ERP system, changes you make to one part of your system can cause unwanted effects in others, resulting in employees creating their own workarounds to complete tasks. The more custom code you add to an ERP application, the more difficult it becomes to make or maintain the application as a single instance. With a multiple-instance ERP solution, however, you can customize all instances as a whole for specific situations and environments.

Prior to beginning your quest to determine which type of ERP instance to implement or continue, assess your company’s current situation, including its adaptability, needs, and goals. In the end, make your choice between single-instance ERP and multiple-instance ERP based not on the technology but rather on what’s best for you and your business.