Businesses are turning to ERP systems to innovate processes across the organization — a cloud-based platform can connect various functional areas into a unified whole. There is no question about the relevance or importance of implementing a modern ERP system; Gartner has coined cloud computing in 2019 as a “slope of enlightenment” phase.
Gartner predicts that the fastest IT spending category is cloud computing infrastructure and applications — out of an overall $3.77 trillion global information technology spend. Digital transformation is front and center; in fact, 72% of companies globally across industries will adopt cloud computing by 2022 based on the latest Future of Jobs Survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Modern ERP software solutions help employees work smarter, improving efficiency and visibility across the organization; this can include everything from purchasing and sourcing, manufacturing, and inventory control to sales and marketing, distribution and customer relationship management.
Many companies that are migrating to the cloud realize it’s the right thing to do, but don’t know where to begin. Here are some key points to consider:
1. Scalability and Flexibility
The first step in selecting an ERP system is to fully assess the needs of the organization at the present time. Reviewing company goals will help to ensure all bases are covered. Once initial needs are determined, look toward future needs that will be realized as the company grows — change means adapting for the future.
An ERP system must be flexible enough to scale the needs as a business matures. Stay away from legacy sites that are built on-premise or those disguised as cloud solutions, but are really a patch and run job — the company will outgrow lesser options quickly. By seeking an ERP with the agility to integrate with emerging technologies, a company is future-proofing its business!
Read more about the advantages of a true cloud ERP system, as well as fake cloud systems that businesses should steer clear of.
The way people work has changed; the advent of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplace and a growing amount of remote workers mean businesses need to offer new ways to do business. Employees need to be able to access workflows and data wherever and whenever they see fit, and this can be a boost to overall productivity — and profitability. If mobile functionality is limited, those efficiency gains will be impossible to realize.
Employees should be able to tap into ERP dashboards to get what information they need, when they need it. It’s also important that they are able to enter data directly from the field, as it reduces the risk of errors that occur when they have to re-enter data collected at a previous time.
3. Recommendations and Testimonials
Transparency is key. An ERP software vendor should be able to provide customer references that a company can reach out to — this will help provide an inside look into the implementation process. Reviewing the actual software should not be overlooked, but an organization must consider the collaborative experience the vendor’s implementation team offers, as well as the overall technical and business acumen in partnering with a company in the same or related industry. Give them a call, and, if possible, pay the company a visit to see how the system reacts in a real-life scenario.
Communication is king when opting for an ERP vendor. The vendor should be committed to building a strong, collaborative relationship between the two teams.
4. Ease of Use
Functional areas across the business will be working in the system daily, inputting data that relates to the department. User experience (UX) should be customizable for each function, so only the most relevant information is presented — users should be able to drill down for a more finite view. This includes contextualization for international companies that work across locales and require region-specific data and units of measurement.
A promising ERP will present the right information to the right people at the right time — all in a simple, accessible way. The system should function smoothly, addressing these needs easily. If a vendor is suggesting clunky workarounds to get a system to localize and contextualize, that’s a red flag.
5. System Cost
When looking at the cost of an ERP system, don’t get caught up just in what’s due upfront, but look at the whole picture. A company looking to migrate to the cloud should consider long-term implementation costs and the total cost of ownership (TCO). Many leading cloud-based ERP vendors offer flexible licensing, which helps to keep costs down as a company grows.
Embracing innovation is about change management and an ERP system should be set up to mirror the future of a business and its necessary processes. A solid ERP system vendor will be ready and willing to evolve as the needs of its customers develop.
Thinking about implementing a cloud-based ERP system? Contact us to learn more about how to utilize IT managed services to meet business goals!