ERP systems have come a long way in the past decade. Systems designed in the early- to mid-2000s by companies such as Microsoft and Sage are rigid and did not easily accommodate change. They were not designed for the consumerization of IT and the widespread use of smartphones and tablets.
Today’s ERP tools are designed to save your company time and money. Many business processes can be automated leading to greater efficiencies and lower operating costs. Errors can be reduced or eliminated. Picking the right ERP system can help offset the need for additional personnel.
One of the primary benefits of the new generation of ERP systems is the access to your data. Recently, there has been a movement toward better data analytics. Being able to analyze your data quickly and intuitively can provide you with a competitive advantage, business opportunities, and minimized operational inefficiencies.
Here are 7 tips for selecting the right ERP system today and into the future:
- Leadership Buy-in
An ERP system will affect the day-to-day activities of most, if not all, departments. It is important that the leaders of each business unit be invested in the selection process. This ensures that the needs of the entire business are being met. The leadership should appoint an ERP leader who understands the business and can act as internal project manager.
- Scope Out the Project
Understand what you want out of the ERP system. Focus on the specific business processes and system requirements. You want to make sure that you are setting realistic expectations. This is a process that you cannot rush or skip.
- Partner for Success
Experience matters. Choose an ERP implementation partner who has extensive experience with business processes. Look for someone who is invested in your long term success and they understand the challenges that you face. Have them provide 3 references. Ask those references what went well, and what did not. You should be looking for a true partner and not simply a product reseller.
- Communicate and Collaborate
Work as a team and collaborate on all choices that need to be made. Document all of the choices that have been made regarding scope, expectations, and deliverables. Work closely with your ERP implementation partner. Learn from their experience and previous successful implementations.
- Decide on the Delivery Model
You have 3 primary delivery models for your ERP solution. On-premises ERP, hosted and managed ERP, and cloud-based ERP, which each have their pros and cons. Consider the needs of your users. Do they or will they require mobile access? Can the solution scale if you experience accelerated growth? And is it agile enough for your evolving business?
When evaluating the delivery model that would work best for you it is always important to understand all of the costs involved. If you decide on an on-premise solution the costs go beyond the original procurement of the hardware and software. On-going maintenance, security, data back-up, and disaster recovery costs need to be accounted for which are included with a cloud solution.
- Carefully Consider Customizations
Most of a company’s basic business processes are virtually the same. If your business has very unique requirements, you will need to determine if those business processes can be standardized. Insisting on a lot of customization will add to the cost of implementation. You also want to consider what it costs to maintain those customizations going forward. Many older client-server solutions require a technical resource with specialized training to build and maintain those customizations.
- User Experience
User experience is critical when selecting and implementing your ERP solution. Make sure you allow for adequate training and develop several internal power users. Additionally, you want to make sure that the functions that your team will be using daily is easy to use. A system that is intuitive lowers training costs both now and into the future.
These steps will help ensure a successful ERP implementation. Your goal should be to set up a system that is built for success today and in the future of your business.
For assistance in selecting the right ERP system for you, contact NeoSystems today or learn more about our Strategic Back Office.