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Understanding PaygOps as High-End ERP Software

Dynamiss' Franchise Model for Last- Mile Distribution fueled by Spark and PaygOps

As organisations scale, the complexity of managing several processes and data points grows exponentially. This complexity underscores the importance of adopting software solutions that are capable of interconnecting all business processes, adapt to evolving challenges and needs, while accommodating scalability seamlessly. Given these complex demands, one technology emerges as the optimal choice for companies seeking comprehensive, scalable solutions to optimise operations and drive sustainable growth: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.


For starters, an ERP software system is a comprehensive solution designed to manage and streamline key business processes within an organisation. It allows businesses to consolidate different core functions, such as finance, human resources, supply chain management, inventory, procurement, manufacturing, and customer relationship management into a central and unified platform. Put simply by one of the world’s largest ERP vendors, SAP, “ERP systems are made up of integrated modules or business applications that talk to each other and share a common database. Each ERP module typically focuses on one business area, but they work together using the same data to meet the company’s needs.” 


These systems have been foundational in business management since the 1990s and have significantly evolved ever since, transitioning from on-premises solutions to more agile, cloud-based platforms, offering flexibility and scalability; as well as more modular solutions, allowing businesses to choose specific functionalities based on their requirements. Today, 97% of businesses interested in this technology, prefer cloud-based solutions, while only 3% would consider an on-premise one (SoftwarePath’s ERP Report, 2022). 


High-end ERP solutions can handle the scalability and complexity that large organisations often require. Based on this premise, we intend to demonstrate why PaygOps can be understood as an advanced ERP system, putting it face to face with globally known solutions, but before we get into the matter, let's explore the key components of an ERP system and the benefits of leveraging one.



A High-End ERP System Made for the Last Mile


Over the years, PaygOps has evolved to become a flexible and robust ERP SaaS system with comprehensive modules and microservices tailored primarily for last-mile distributors of essential services, clean energy companies, Pay-as-you-go (Paygo) providers, Microfinance institutions and others. Overall, it serves as a comprehensive IT platform that integrates critical business processes specific to last-mile operations, such as customer onboarding and management, billing and invoicing, token activation, asset tracking, inventory management, after-sales management, reporting and analytics, among many others, enabling companies to automate and streamline these core functions, providing real-time data visibility to help organisations in optimising their decision-making and, therefore, their operations.


Although sometimes referred to as a last-mile CRM (Customer Relationship Management), PaygOps' flexible features go beyond those of a CRM. While both CRM and ERP systems manage customer-related data, their primary focus differs. CRM systems are customer-centric, focusing on sales, marketing, and customer service. ERP systems, on the other hand, are much broader, integrating various business processes beyond customer management. In fact, as we’ll explain in more detail below, many ERPs, including PaygOps, incorporate a CRM as a key component of their ecosystem.


Like traditional ERPs, PaygOps is constantly leveraged by most clients as a core IT platform that centralises information, enhances efficiency and allows scalability for businesses, with the particularity of specialising in serving  last-mile distribution companies, tailoring its modules to the unique needs and challenges of this industry segment. But why does PaygOps maintain the upper hand in this sector against more commercially known solutions?


As thoroughly explained in this article, last-mile operations typically involve dynamic payment structures, real-time data synchronisation (between field agent mobile app, desktop interface and third-party apps), seamless integrations with TelCos and Mobile Money, and specific customer management needs at the very last mile that go beyond the capabilities of traditional software. 


That’s where the value of a specialised software provider like PaygOps comes into play, as the latter can offer truly comprehensive IT infrastructures that are thoughtfully developed to serve last-mile operations, with only a few of these software providers (like PaygOps) having firsthand experience as former last-mile distributors, thus better understanding the challenges of last-mile companies and how to tackle them effectively with flexible IT solutions.


Key Components of an ERP System



An ERP system encompasses several key components or modules that work together to integrate and streamline core business processes across an organisation. While specific features may vary depending on the ERP provider and industry focus, the following are cited by several sources as key components found in most ERP systems today:


  1. Financial Management: Handles accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting

  2. Supply Chain Management: Oversees procurement, inventory, logistics and distribution

  3. Human Resource Management: Covers payroll, employee records, and workforce planning

  4. Manufacturing: Controls production processes and resource planning

  5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Manages customer interactions, sales pipeline, customer service and support

  6. Business Intelligence: Provides data insights through interactive dashboards, reports, and data visualisations for strategic planning and operational optimisation



Key Benefits of Using an ERP System


Using an ERP system offers numerous benefits to organisations, providing a holistic view of business operations, enabling organisations to optimise resources, reduce costs, and respond more effectively to market demands and customer needs. Key benefits of using an ERP system include:




Improved Efficiency: eliminates manual processes by automating repetitive tasks such as data entry, which saves time and reduces the risk of human error, thus enhancing productivity within the organisation. For instance, a key client in the off-grid solar sector reported that the need for manual count of stock  movements was greatly reduced, down from 7 to 1 man-day per month shortly after implementing a PaygOps’ Custom Workflow for Inventory Management.



Data Accuracy: provides a single source of truth for business data across all departments. A centralised data management reduces the data redundancy and inconsistency that can take place with manual systems, allowing organisations to make confident decisions based on reliable data insights. Accurate data also helps enhance customer service by providing accurate order tracking, inventory status, customer information, etc. 



Enhanced Reporting and Analytics: enables sophisticated data-driven and informed decision-making at all levels of the organisation. A great example can be seen in PaygOps Customised Dashboards, which allows for smooth grouping, filtering, customisation and visualisation of data into comprehensive reports and dashboards. An advanced analytics feature like this allows businesses to identify trends, forecast demand, optimise processes and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) effectively.



Streamlined Communication: teams can access shared data and work on projects together more efficiently. Real-time data updates within the system ensure that everyone is working with the most current data, reduces communication gaps and improves cross-functional teamwork. PaygOps' Web and Mobile interfaces, for example, are seamlessly synced, allowing managers to assign daily tasks that will appear on the field agents' mobile app, including walkthrough messages for complex processes when needed, giving agents access as well to clients portfolio, onboarding management, after-sales management, inventory management, etc, while the back office team can overview the field processes and start leveraging the new data as soon as it syncs across interfaces.



Regulatory Compliance: helps organisations meet industry standards and regulations by enforcing standardised processes and documentation. Built-in compliance features ensure that business operations adhere to legal and regulatory frameworks, minimising the risk of penalties or audits. PaygOps’ GOGLA KPIs Dashboard, for instance, allows off-grid solar distributors to easily track and extract their data in compliance with the GOGLA-Global Lighting KPIs framework (such as portfolio size, churn rate, or average credit period) and investor requirements, helping the user to adhere to industry standards while improving their ability to raise funds.

Face to Face: How does PaygOps Compare to Other High-End ERPs?


By analysing capabilities such as API calls, number of payments/invoices/clients/contracts, under varying loads and conditions, organisations can assess an ERP system’s scalability and its potential bottlenecks. This information might help to determine high-end ERP systems’ capacity to handle increased workloads, integrate with external systems, process transactions efficiently and support a larger user base over time, in order to ensure that the selected system can meet business growth. 


ERP Software

Scalability

  • 25,000 API calls / day (average of 1041 / hour)

  • Max 10,000 (Pro) - 100,000 invoices/payments per year (Ultimate)

  • Zoho CRM offers up to 2,000,000 requests / 24h

  • 100 API calls / minute - 6000 API calls / hour

  • 5,000 clients maximum

  • 50,000 invoices maximum

  • 250,000 transactions maximum

  • Up to 1,000,000 requests / 24h

  •      ~42,000 requests / hour



  • Max of 5,000 clients

  • Max of 50,000 invoices

  • Max of 250,000 transactions

  • 100 API calls / minute - 6000 API calls / hour



  • 5,000 requests / 24h per user, up to 4,000,000 requests / 24h (with 1,000,000 external identity licenses for 10$/license/month, cost ~10m$/month)

  •     up to 167,000 requests / hour



  • Max of 500,000 requests / 24h, up to 10,000,000 requests / 24h with the max of 20,000 users (costs 1.9m$ / month)

  •     21,000 requests / hour, up to 417,000 requests / hour



  • 500 requests per active contract per month  

  •  With 600,000 active contracts (~0.15m$/month) you get 300,000,000 / month so 10,000,000 / 24h or 417,000 / hour


Leveraging Technology for a More Customer-Centric Approach


Customisation is an essential aspect that separates off-the-shelf ERPs from those truly built for scalability, given it allows the platform to seamlessly evolve as the business grows or changes over time. According to the 2022 ERP Report by Panorama Consulting Group, “only 3% of companies use ERP systems with out-of-the-box functionality; the rest employ some degree of customisation.”


Customisation of ERP systems allows businesses to tailor the software to specific business processes, operational needs, distinctive organisational structures, and specialised workflows. This ensures that the platform aligns with the company’s strategic goals, by enabling extensive automation and process optimisation that ultimately impact the overall efficiency of the organisation.


PaygOps has partly built its reputation on the high degree of flexibility that the platform and its support teams offer, enabling last-mile organisations to automate processes and maximise their usage of data. Our specialised Business Support Services team is dedicated to helping clients customise PaygOps to their unique business needs through the design and implementation of Custom Workflows, PaygOps’ cutting-edge software integration service to automate processes and facilitate real-time data exchange between PaygOps and virtually any other third-party application. For instance, our team recently supported a renowned social enterprise (currently serving ~4 million smallholder farmers in Africa) in implementing specific custom workflows that significantly enhanced their inventory management, delivery management, and credit scoring processes. This enabled the agri distributor to revamp their business model, increase sales and improve the customer experience shortly after implementation (we invite you to read the case study here).


Additionally, by providing users with interfaces and functionalities tailored to their exact roles and preferences, customisation enhances user adoption, satisfaction, and customer loyalty, leading to better utilisation of the system’s capabilities. PaygOps keeps making significant strides in this area, recently announcing the User Journey Editor, an intuitive no-code editor that allows users to effortlessly create and customise menus, processes, fields, quick accesses, and in-app walkthrough messages. This ensures a highly tailored, distraction-free environment that optimises productivity and reduces human error. So far, this game-changing addition has reported time savings of almost 70% on key operations during field tests with some of our clients.


Flexible Microservices: A Comprehensive Pricing Structure 


According to several sources (1,2,3,4), businesses can expect to spend up to $9000 per user per month on globally well known ERP systems, whereas total prices might range from $150.000 to $500.000. This price disparity varies greatly depending on a number of factors, such as: business size, number of users, licensing fees, customisations, implementation fees, maintenance costs, among others. In addition, many ERP vendors do not even display their pricing on their websites, do so partially, or are not entirely clear and straightforward in explaining what their offerings entail, which can prevent an organisation from knowing how much exactly they should budget for this type of technology, or lead to unexpected expenses down the road. However, based on the information available, there’s a clear mismatch between the pricing of well known ERP systems and what companies in emerging markets, for instance, can afford to invest in IT (we invite you to read the research we conducted alongside our partner enable|digital on IT costs in emerging markets).


With this in mind, pricing might be another strength that presents PaygOps as an ideal solution for organisations in the last-mile distribution segment. We provide clear and transparent pricing structures that help businesses understand their ongoing costs and avoid unexpected, non-disclosed fees. This is particularly important for SMEs that need to manage their cash flow more carefully than larger ones.


Coming full circle with our customer-centric approach (see above), the NEW PaygOps Microservices Offering enables a company to choose just the Microservice - or group of interoperable features - that best fits their needs and incorporate it seamlessly into their application network, with the pricing based on the number of active contacts per month + a fixed fee, regardless of the number of users, bringing forward a comprehensive pricing structure that better adheres to the requirements of the business models that essential service providers typically operate under.


Like the platform itself, PaygOps’ pricing is designed to be comprehensive, flexible and scalable, making it a practical choice for last-mile distributors who need to manage their costs effectively while accessing the robust ecosystem of Microservices and ERP possibilities that will allow them to effectively automate processes, streamline operations and scale.



 

About PaygOps:

Solaris Offgrid’s flagship fintech software, PaygOps, enables credit to be provided to the bottom of the pyramid for essential products like solar home systems, agri-inputs, water pumps. The end customers pay incrementally via mobile money under a PAYGO model. PaygOps provides the software infrastructure to manage the contracts, payments and related communication for the local retailers of such products. Our affordable modular and interoperable solution connects energy and payment methods (Pay-as-you-go, mobile money) to a suite of enterprise applications that allows the smooth management of lease financing and field operations, while providing key financial data and metrics to investors.



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