What kind of ERP solution should you get for your business? Or, if you already own ERP software, the question may be more along the lines of “How should I upgrade my ERP?” To help you in your decision making process, Acumatica has devised a useful ERP evaluation checklist. We highly recommend it. If nothing else, you will find it thought-provoking as you assess your business management software options.
The checklist suggests looking at ERP from five separate angles:
- Productivity, i.e. how an ERP solution can make you and your staff more productive
- Functionality, i.e. what the solution actually does regarding daily accounting and business management functions and beyond
- Technology, i.e. how the product leverages technology in terms of usability, customizability and maintainability
- Value, i.e. how the product maximizes features and functions versus cost for the usable lifetime of the product
- Risk, i.e. how the product minimizes risk and facilitate security
Each of these angles translates into a detailed focus area on the checklist. Under productivity, for instance, the checklist contains nine questions. They touch on subjects like how easy the solution is to learn and whether it offers Wikis. Here are a few highlights.
The checklist asks if the solution provides true universal availability. Is there access to the ERP system from any device, anytime? Does it enable employees to work from home, or on late/weekend shifts out of the office. Can personnel in the field use it on mobile devices? These have been good questions for some time now, especially given how limited certain legacy ERP solutions can be when it comes to mobility and universal availability. However, in the current moment, when virtually every American is working from home, it’s absolutely essential.
The Functionality section of the checklist raises the issue of multi-entity accounting. This won’t be a big issue for some businesses. However, if you operate more than one corporate entity, multi-entity financial management and reporting functionality can be big time-savers. The checklist asks if a proposed ERP solution can support multi-company, multi-warehouse and international companies. It probes whether the solution can deal with financial consolidation between multiple entities, intercompany eliminations and reconciliations. These are all time-consuming and error-prone workflows if they have to be done by hand, toggling between separate accounting systems.
Business managers who evaluate ERP options may relegate the technology questions to the IT department. This is sensible, up to a point, but it’s wise to understand as much as possible about the technology you’re buying. The checklist poses questions that are certainly relatable to a non-technologist. For instance, it asks if all functionality of an ERP solution is accessible through the Internet. This is natural for a cloud ERP like Acumatica, but it is not guaranteed by every ERP vendor. If a solution requires a separate software installation on the user’s device, that’s a reason to be circumspect about adopting it. That software will be something to maintain for all time.
These are just a few of the interesting details contained in the checklist. If you’re interested, we can walk you through the checklist and address the inevitable questions that arise. That’s the whole point of the checklist, in any case. It’s meant to make everyone smarter about their ERP choices. We can help fill in the blanks and point out where certain features and functions could benefit your unique business situation. Contact us to learn more or see a demo of Acumatica.