When choosing to invest in an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, it’s important to consider all the facts and take into account the features you will really need in order to help your business grow efficiently. So often though, companies move quickly and without thought, rushing into a choice based on the wrong capabilities.
With help from Martin Craze, managing director of Applied Business, here are seven common mistakes when rushing into an ERP selection, and ways to avoid them to ensure you select the right ERP solution for your business.
Analyze Your Specific Business Needs
When choosing an ERP solution you’ll want to have a clear vision with regards to what you’re looking to achieve from it. If you don’t define or document your requirements, you may be choosing a system that works well for another company instead of yours. Craze claims that most of the ERP systems on your list will usually cover 80 to 90 percent of what you need as a standard. This means there is no value in searching for those requirements, instead, your time can be better spent looking for the differentiator requirements.
Focus on features that will give you a competitive advantage, particular to your industry or sector, or one that provides an easy fix to any business processes you are currently struggling with (and one that will continuously fix those issues).
Compare the Return on Investment (ROI)
At first, an ERP system investment can seem like an expensive use of a company budget, but in time, the long-term benefits gained from the investments will outweigh this concern. ERP solutions from one vendor can cost slightly less or more than another’s for a reason, even if it’s not initially obvious. Whether it’s better quality customer support or thorough reporting – consider factors beyond cost when looking for a new ERP solution.
Invest in Training and Software Upkeep
Not finding enough time to properly train employees about using the new system is one of the most common reasons why ERP implementations fail. This lack of training can lead employees to dislike the new system because they don’t understand it or don’t know how to use it completely. Craze suggests making sure employees have the opportunity to become comfortable with the new system before it goes live to ensure your chances of ERP success.
Set a Deadline for Your Selection
Choosing an ERP vendor should never be a swift process, give yourself plenty of time to analyze multiple competitors and test drive both the software and support team. It’s almost too easy to underestimate the time taken for a new system to be complete with full integrations and resources.
Initiating the adoption of a new ERP solution requires total commitment and enthusiasm for the project. As much as time is a key consideration, so is energy. If your team doesn’t have the motivation to pull off an ERP implementation successfully, you could be in trouble. An often overlooked aspect is allocating enough resources to be able to handle the ERP selection process, including preparing a selection team and implementation committee. This will help keep the processes as streamlined and efficient as possible.
Put it to the Test
Unless you test the new ERP software product on your own, you won’t know how well the new software will hold up in a real world environment. Sure, the demonstration model the vendor showed you during the meeting worked just fine, but if this step isn’t covered it can mean expensive downtime for your employees while services are upgraded or fixed.
Do Your Research
It easy to pick the first ERP vendor that peaks your interest, but when choosing an ERP solution, you shouldn’t approach it as a one-size-fits-all situation. In fact, it’s important to look past the sales pitch and decided on an ERP software vendor who doesn’t operate like this. Some companies include just a brief summary of what their ERP solutions can do on their website. So it’s a good practice to be skeptical beyond the simple feature lists and ask the vendor as many questions as possible. Don’t be afraid of asking too many questions.
Unplug All Legacy Applications
If your business doesn’t notably unplug or ‘decomission’ old / outdated software applications, then you’re stuck with an ERP system with legacy applications clinging to it (and dragging it down). The end result is an outdated piece of legacy software, which is being paid for, when the entire objective of acquiring a new ERP system was to streamline workflow and reduce costs in the first place.
Looking for more information about ERP systems? Download our free buyers guide, where you can find the top ERP software vendors, snippets about their highest ranking ERP solutions and products, plus the top 10 questions and tips to ask yourself and software vendor before purchasing!
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