Top 10 Guidelines When Choosing ERP System
Choosing ERP System features and benefits for your organization may not be easy. Inside ERP, an industry leader in research provided a great top ten checklist when a company is looking to choose and ERP system. As a software system, ERP is costly, time-intensive to implement and requires proper planning before deciding to jump into the software selection process. Here is what Inside ERP recommends:
Focus on ERP Solutions that Target Your Company’s Needs
Complexity in the software is mostly based on company size. Meaning smaller companies are going to have simpler options whereas midmarket companies will have more sophisticated options. Enterprise companies will have the most complex. Many ERP packages have specific industry focuses. The functions will vary for shop floor management for manufacturers or advanced shipping modules for distributors.
Include a SaaS, Software as a Service Solution in Your Assessment
ERP software didn’t adapt this model as quickly as other business software options. Now that it has, SaaS solutions generally are lower cost options, which are easy to deploy. On-premises has its benefits too, including greater security control over your business data.
Consider the Strengths and Weaknesses of an ERP vendor
You want to make sure, before launching into a costly software project, that you have the best ERP vendor for your business. Ask how many customers they have, what their financials look like and how much industry experience they have. Find out if the vendor has products that will accommodate future growth, too.
Think Long Term
Planning for the future will mean selecting an ERP system that will grow with your company. Consider what modules you may need in the coming months and years. Make sure your vendor is able to accommodate those changes. “ERP is a long-term investment” – Inside ERP. Phasing in new ERP functionality is a must.
Take Stock of Your Existing Network
Assess your network whether you choose on-premises or a hosted solution. An ERP system could place strain on your existing network. On-premises could mean new servers and a hosted option means have the bandwidth to accommodate the new software. Ensure your infrastructure is set to handle the changes.
Consider Each Vendor’s Other Business Applications
Does the vendor have robust Customer Relationship Management application or Business Process Management? How easy will it be for you to integrate your ERP, CRM or even ecommerce platforms? Decide upfront if you need to integrate CRM and ERP capabilities. It will make it easier to narrow down your options.
Calculate Your Risk Tolerance
When taking into consideration your risk tolerance, consider whether a phased or big bang approach is best. Phased approach is higher cost lower risk and big bang higher risk lower cost approach. Decide what your risk tolerance is for software implementations and what strategy you think will be suit your company. How risk averse is your company?
Get a Thorough Demonstration of the ERP System
Online demos are not enough. Particularly for a complex system like ERP. Meet with the vendor and see firsthand the usability of the various modules. This process should include “power-users” from various departments to see if all departments will benefit from the software.
Consider an ERP Consultant
Inside-ERP* suggests hiring a consultant with expertise in the implementing the software. Whether you need an industry specific consultant, or someone with broader experience make sure you are a good fit and will work well throughout the process. Consider a third party vendor who will be able to guide you in the best direction for your company.
Buy Only the Modules You Need
You don’t have to buy ERP as a suite. You can purchase different modules (services) that are specific to your industry or type of organization.
*Reference: Inside-ERP is an industry leader in research and education for finance, sales, IT and operation professionals.