How to Select an ERP Solution
Determining an ERP solution for a business can be a daunting and time-consuming task with many pitfalls along the way. When it comes to evaluating a system, it is important to understand the steps the organization must take to ensure the procurement process runs as smoothly as the most refined solution on the market.
With ERP systems on a steady rise, it’s important that a business selects a vendor that can meet its needs — now and into the future. A true ERP system should provide customers with the flexibility to start where they need and grow with them, adding applications and adjusting for users with an affordable and sustainable plan.
Gartner predicts 17.3% growth in 2019 to total $206.2 billion in the cloud services market. Many companies that are migrating to the cloud, don’t know where to begin. Here are some key points to consider:
Assessing business needs and what is required from a prospective system is an imperative first step; one that needs to take place even before reaching out to prospective ERP vendors.
ERP systems will operate across the organizational layout and while implementation may start out focusing on only a few primary areas, it’s very likely the system will grow to encompass more as time goes by. Because an ERP system grows to cover more areas and evolves with the company, it’s essential to review all departments, including those it may take a couple years to impact. The project team should be sure to consult relevant parties and establish a list of requirements.
Project leaders should also determine how a new ERP system will assist the business in achieving its short-term and long-term goals. This task should be straight-forward, unlike the system requirements phase. The company’s goals should already be established — look to its strategic plan and those of various departments as a starting place.
Take a look at how the ERP will assist in bringing these goals to successful fruition. Perhaps the short-term aim is to improve system efficiencies, or the long-term goal is for your business to branch out into new markets; the business should have an idea how an ERP system can help achieve business goals.
An ERP system is the core component of a company’s primary system structure. It will need to “play” well with other applications employees use to perform their work functions. Make sure the ERP the business chooses, works well with these other systems and even potentially compliments them. Integration is a key benefit to cloud-based ERP systems, as it offers infinite flexibility.
With true cloud solutions, businesses will find, more than not, ERP systems that are widely-used and won’t buckle to the challenge of integration. Additionally, many ERP systems offer a partner network — take a look to see who they’re already working with!
It’s essential that companies determine their needs before they choose a solution — this will prevent surprises that could negatively impact the budget. A misunderstanding in regard to cost and responsibility for training can severely derail an implementation rollout.
Fortunately, top ERP vendors offer flexibility in this area and will offer unlimited licenses and a broader approach to training. To make matters easier, the systems are generally user-friendly, which means it won’t take heavy lifting to get users comfortable within the system; there are also additional resources such as manuals, training partners, and user forums that employees can turn to as they’re ready to advance their knowledge.
Customer reviews and references play a massive part in all buying decisions, and the ERP selection process should be no different.
Seeking out references from business in similar industries and situations as your company can provide unique insight. Reach out directly to these companies, and, if possible, visit to see how the software is working. These conversations often provide the best chance to evaluate whether the system is a good fit for the business; it may also make a company aware of potential pitfalls that could lie ahead with this particular ERP system.
An ERP system implementation should be a top focus for many businesses. While it’s important to look at cost-savings along the way, make sure the system the company chooses fits its current needs — as well as where it would like to take the business in the future.
While the price should be a strong factor in the overall decision, it’s not always about getting the cheapest possible solution. An ERP system that is well-suited for a business can provide it with endless efficiencies and ultimately profit. Look at the big picture.
A company deserves the freedom to focus on its growth. A well-developed cloud strategy gives businesses the advantage they need, thanks to powerful tools available at any time, from anywhere. To learn more about implementing an ERP system, contact us today!