The advent of the enterprise resource planning system, or ERP, has provided businesses and organizations of all sizes to integrate all their departments and business functions into a single, unified interface. Business data is centralized and easily accessible, which means everyone is working and operating using a single version of data.
Everyone from accounting, finance, asset management, human resources, sales and marketing, customer relations, and top management among others can benefit from ERP software unifying their processes and streamlining their workflows. That being said, choosing an ERP system can be quite tricky.
ERP software is a crucial investment and picking the wrong ERP suite can significantly set you back and impact your business in the most adverse of ways. Thus, you have to choose the right ERP system straight off the bat. The following expert tips on what to look for in ERP software should help you get started in the right direction.
- Figure Out Your Needs First
Business requirements and specifications are among the top factors to consider when choosing an ERP system. Needs and requirements vary greatly from one company to another. Thus, it is important to realize early that your business is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution that can address all of them. You need to figure out what they are and how an ERP solution can help you unify your business operations and face existing and potential challenges as well.
For instance, your business is looking to expand and you suddenly ran into a brick wall because your accounting and financial data are all over the place. Information is so disorganized that you can’t make sense out of your figures.
Hiring a small business accounting firm is a surefire way to resolve any irregularities in your accounting.
You can also pick an ERP suite with a robust accounting module to help you get your accounting back on track and aligned and integrated with the other departments of your enterprise.
It is imperative that you perform thorough research on your business needs and identify areas of operations that are crucial to your growth and success before you perform the next step which is…
- …Choose The Right Vendor
A pivotal step on how to choose ERP software for your organization is identifying the best vendor to form a partnership with. It is important to bear in mind that your software vendor functions more like a business partner. An ERP solution may sound awesome on paper with all the bells and whistles you would want and need. But if you’re stuck with the wrong partner, implementation can go awry and may cause serious issues that could impede your business.
There are many instances where software implementation was either delayed, problematic, or scrapped due to a variety of issues. The lack of transparency and communication between the software vendor and client can result in misinformation and misaligned expectations. Poor data integrity during migration exposes data to various threats including data loss and/or theft. There are also cases where software vendors are consciously tricky and deliberately non-transparent with their contracts.
In picking the right ERP software vendor, you are encouraged to make a list of reputable and highly recommended software developers and providers. Once you are done with the list, craft your business plan that includes your requirements, goals, and other specifications and send them to every vendor on your list. The best ERP software vendors will be transparent with their recommendations and continuously communicate with you to ensure that all your needs are satisfied.
On top of that, they will provide training for you and your employees to help them ensure smooth implementation and adoption. Most software providers, the reputable ones anyway, will assign a dedicated support representative to assist you whenever you have issues with their software. Also, they will give guarantees on mobility and operational continuity as well as scalability whenever you need it.
- Choose User-Friendly ERP Software
Software products that remain difficult to use even after training can result in failure of implementation, which can be very costly. According to the Software Fail Watch 2017 report by Tricentis, software failure, including failed implementation, resulted in a massive loss of over $1.715 trillion worldwide.
One of the biggest ERP software blunders of history, giant cosmetic brand Avon wasted $125 million and four years on a SAP enterprise resource planning project. The software was intended to reduce the number of critical tasks performed by their sales reps. Instead, the product added more work, discouraging employees from further using the ERP software.
The main users of your ERP software should find themselves at ease and familiar with the solution after a considerable time spent on training. Otherwise, their efficiency and productivity will suffer, prompting them to revert to their old practices instead of fully utilizing and maximizing your ERP investment.
Ready to Integrate and Scale
When choosing ERP software, make sure that it is built for seamless integration with other software platforms. Having an ERP solution that can integrate with multiple business systems and applications, especially with existing tools used by your organization, allows you and your staff to further extend the functionality of your software without having to create custom API integrations.
Also, you need to realize that business requirements change from time to time. As your business grows, your organization’s needs and specifications shift as well. A scalable ERP solution will definitely work to your advantage. You can communicate the changes in your business needs to your ERP vendor and they will add the necessary features and capabilities to make sure your ERP software helps you address new business challenges and keep your enterprise on track to success and growth.