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 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 features.
1. Analyze Your Requirements
The first step when choosing an ERP solution is 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).
2. Set Realistic Deadlines & Sufficient Resources
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.
3. Invest in Training and Maintenance
Not finding enough proper training time is one of the most common reasons ERP implementations fail. This lack of training can lead employees to resent the new system because they don’t understand it or 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.
4. Decommission Legacy Applications
If your business doesn’t actively arrange to decommission during the implementation of your new ERP, then you’re stuck with a system with legacy applications clinging on to it. The end result is a duplicate piece of 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.
5. Test It
Unless you test the new ERP software product on your own, you won’t know how well the new software will hold up to heavy se 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 down time for the software and your employees while services are upgraded or fixed to accommodate the workload you need it to handle.
6. Do Your Research
It can be tempting to choose the right ERP software vendor that comes along, but it’s important to look past the initial sales pitch and decided on an ERP provider who doesn’t operate a one size fits all policy. Vendors aren’t always able to say exactly what they provide on their website, so it’s a good idea to be inquisitive and skeptical beyond simple feature lists and ask the vendor as many questions as possible.
7. Compare the Return on Investment (ROI)
At first, an ERP system investment can seem like an expensive use of budget, but in time, the long-term benefits gained from the investments will outweigh this. 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, more in-depth features or thorough reporting – consider factors beyond cost when looking for a new ERP solution.
Selecting a new ERP solution is a time-consuming process, but should prove productive. If you are falling into one of the traps above, take a step back and consider your options. Avoid these drawbacks and you will find success.
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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