Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions exist to help companies manage everything from assets to operations and future outlook. Choosing the right ERP software is an important decision in the life of every business and will have a long-lasting impact. Several considerations should be factored into the ultimate decision.
- What’s the cost? – The cost of an ERP Software solution has to be taken into consideration early in the process. Many of the solutions you’ll be considering are Enterprise-level software designed for multi-national corporations of over 1000 employees. Are you one of these companies? If not, you can count these high-cost solutions out right away. Make an honest assessment of what level you’re playing on so you can narrow down the field. Small and mid-level companies have a wide range of solution packages to choose from.
- Choose based on your industry – Many ERP software packages are designed to be sold across many verticals and industries. When considering your options, take into account the unique way in which your company handles its business. Are you a manufacturer or distributor? It’s important you select an ERP Software which is able to manage the aspects of your business which wouldn’t be important to a healthcare or finance company. Unless you choose to go with a proprietary software which is specifically designed for your individual business, you’ll likely need to make some customizations which can vary from minor to major depending on what you need to accomplish. Consider these customizations and their cost before proceeding.
- Consider the cost to upgrade – Every ERP software package you purchase will need to be upgraded at some point. When selecting a solution, take this into account and the fact that, if you purchase a software which needs to be installed on your own servers, you will need an IT team to handle the upgrade. However, if you go with one of the many cloud-based solutions now being offered, the cost of upgrading will likely be included in a monthly or annual fee you pay to use the software. This Software-As-A-Service model is especially beneficial to companies that can’t afford to retain an IT service and would like it handled by the ERP vendor.
- What level of functionality do you need? – When making this important decision, take an inventory of what you’ll need from this solution. Do you just need a general ledger? Or will you need to manage Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Inventory? Go even further than that. What about Customer Relationship Management (CRM)? If your business roadmap includes selling online, will this ERP software include an option for e-commerce? What level of reporting will you need? If you’re looking down the line and thinking “I’ll need all of this at some point,” then you’ll want to narrow down your field of choices to solutions which have the capability of integrating all of these modules. One of the biggest pain points for businesses which choose to utilize several disparate software solutions to manage all of these areas of their business is the cost to integrate and maintain all the solutions. Avoid the expensive mistake of using myriad third parties and integration solutions which complicate success and obscure operations visibility.
- What support does the vendor offer? – At some point, you will likely need to ask a question about the ERP software you’ve purchased. You may be having a problem with an error message or you’re just not certain how a particular function of the solution works. Here’s where it’s vital that you choose a vendor which has a comprehensive support option or an ERP implementation consultant who is familiar enough with the software that he/she can meet and solve any problems you might face in the implementation process. Don’t be stuck for hours trying to figure out something. Have a phone number you can call for a help desk or a trusted advisor.
Still have questions about which ERP software is right you? Contact us for a no-obligation discussion about your business needs and how we can help you decide.