When a run-of-the-mill business is ready for the big upgrade, the obvious conclusion is to choose an ERP solution that suits the business on all fronts. But, marrying your business to an eligible ERP solution is easier said than done. Today, consumers are spoiled for choice and there are varied solutions in the market which one can choose from. These ERP’s cater to all types of requirements but finding one that ticks all the boxes for you is a process of considerable R&D. The good news is – with some efforts you can source a suitable solution which meets all your needs.
Start by checking off the following points off your checklist –
Your business is in need of an ERP hence, you are the best person to carry a thorough evaluation of your needs. A thorough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is the primary step before choosing an ERP. When you are clear about the needs of your business it becomes much easier to shop for a suitable ERP. Each software comes with its own specialized features and interface. Some are good at serving one purpose while others may be better at carrying out different requisite tasks. You can choose from a bouquet of features and customize your ERP solution for your requirements.
The second step is to choose the platform for your software. There are various options available to choose from – on-premise, cloud or hybrid. On-premise installations are usually expensive but hybrid models which have been carefully customized can provide efficient, practical solutions.
You can invest in an ERP solution which satisfies your immediate requirements at a much lower price if you wish. But, there is a catch. Your business is definitely not going to stay in one place. It will be growing and pacing ahead with new needs and requirements. Therefore, the smart thing to do in the present is to invest in a software that can be customized and integrated seamlessly with your existing systems, as and when needed. Your ERP should make smooth data sharing across applications possible to save time and resources.
Your ERP partner is important too. Many organizations often lack the requisite knowledge and know how to smoothly implement their ERP software. Your implementation partner can step in here and provide you with users, analysts and process experts for a seamless transition. You should be able to depend on this team to assess processes and functional implementation. The vendor should be judged on various parameters such as solution capability, industry knowledge, implementation experience, time and cost, support and services terms, etc. Always ask for a product demo and their customer references to evaluate available options before choosing any particular vendor. Figure out any hidden costs associated with the solution, including consultation charges, hardware investment, implementation cost, maintenance, service charges, etc.
Keep room for technological modifications. Your software should also be scalable enough to meet your future goals and should possess a user-friendly GUI. Your best business practices and processes should not have to be compromised and adjusted to your software’s capabilities. Shortcomings in this area can lead to inefficient adoption of techniques, undue frustration on part of the employees and wasted resources for the business. This can leave you worse-off than when you started.
Cost of ownership is another important evaluation factor for ongoing success and profitability. Your ERP will be an expensive investment – the initial costs, maintenance, licensing, training and support. As your business grows, your costs will increase in proportion. You have to take into account costs of upgrade and expansion of the existing ERP.
The bottom line – invest in a good ERP partner. Be sure to discuss your long-range goals and prospects with your ERP partner. An experienced ERP partner can give you the perfect software that fits your current budget.