Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions help businesses to manage their day-to-day operations quickly and easily. A modern ERP helps automate most manual tasks and reduces the need for human intervention. Not surprisingly, businesses of all sizes and stature use these ultra-productive tools to scale and manage various processes.
Today’s variety of business management tools and solutions can overwhelm even the most ERP-savvy individual.
Whether you are planning on moving forward from your legacy ERP solution to a more modern one or considering using an ERP system for the first time, there are some rules to follow.
Here’s a ERP requirements list to keep in mind when exploring options for your business:
1. Make sure to do the following before shopping for an ERP
- List the reasons why you need an ERP software
Different businesses have different needs and requirements. If you already use an ERP and are looking for a new one, list the functions your current ERP lacks. Make a list of reasons you need an ERP and identify the driving forces behind considering a business processes automation tool.
- List your expectations from your ERP system.
Once you’ve made a list of reasons justifying your need for a new ERP solution, identify your business goals and how you expect an ERP to solve them.
When doing so, include all relevant business units. You may have to consult your marketing, information technology, and finance teams. It makes sense to speak to the HR team as well.
- List the most significant challenges your business currently faces
When you speak to your teams or employees, you will understand your business’s most critical issues. Different challenges in different areas of your business could affect one another and your business as a whole. Once you’ve identified the issues, deliberate on how an ERP may solve those problems.
- Determine your budget
Budget is one of the primary considerations before purchasing, and ERP is no exception. Assess how much you are willing to invest, and add an extra 25% to your budget. This supplementary budget should cover your customization requirements as they come up.
2. Ask these questions when browsing the ERP solutions landscape
- What specific features do you require?
Have you tried different ERP software and liked certain features? If so, list the features you want in your new ERP.
- What is your business niche?
The one-size-fits-all general software doesn’t work for all. The features you need may be particular to your business niche. Always keep the nature of your business and its uniqueness in mind. You may opt for an industry-specific solution to keep up with competitors who use industry products. These ERP solutions have functionalities and customizations that make out-of-the-box solutions.
Does the product support tech connectivity and integrations?
An ERP is a complete solution for managing your business’s day-to-day operations. However, no ERP is infinite, and third-party applications are often required to realize your system’s full potential. Ask your potential vendor if integrations are easy and if you have access to the API.
Which deployment model suits you best?
While most businesses use a Software-as-a-Service delivery model (SaaS), others prefer an on-premise model. e SaaS model is usually charged monthly to access the software over the cloud.
True Cloud-based ERP delivers Accelerated time to value and usually offers a Non-technical, user-friendly configuration for the entire team; always up to date with the latest upgrades and features and requires Low involvement from IT.
On-premise ERP is installed locally and may not be the right solution for every business- Implementations and upgrades are usually expensive and lengthy and require vast IT resources, often offering a disconnected data framework.
Some businesses may elect to deploy a Two-tier hybrid ERP with on-premise and cloud deployments combining cloud ERP features and on-premise ERP, which can sometimes cause Dependency on network servers and silo your data into Two versions of information.
3. After narrowing down your options, its time to overview your vendor options:
- Does the vendor offer ongoing support?
An ERP implementation does not end after the system is up and running. You will need ongoing support to tweak specific modules, fix bugs, and maintain your ERP in good health. Ensure that your vendor offers ongoing tech support.
- Does the vendor offer training?
Most ERP implementations fail because the staff isn’t adequately trained in using the new ERP. Ask your vendor if they provide training.
Some may provide training as part of the implementation bundle, but most will offer training courses and services for an additional fee. Do not be deterred by this, as a modern ERP solution changes, morphs, and scales as your business grows, growing in functionality and usage – making professional, on-demand training is imperative to realize the system’s full potential.
- How reputable is the vendor?
Read the vendor’s testimonials on various websites, and ask industry insiders if they would recommend your chosen vendor’s products, but remember that not all reviews are genuine. It is necessary to consult professional and experienced users before coming to conclusions.
3. Making the final decision – Selecting an ERP
- Did the vendor answer all your questions?
Once you have answers to all the questions and follow all the rules of choosing an ERP product, it is time to make the final decision. Reputable ERP vendors often have valuable suggestions to make. Evaluate how your conversations and interactions with the vendor were. Did they answer all your questions patiently and suggest something you didn’t know?
- Are you convinced with their customer support?
Your interactions with their sales team may not reflect how their customer support practices will turn out. Try to find out how accessible their support is and if you can access support during your trial period. That should help you decide if customer care is as good as sales support.
- Can you scale up and scale down?
Your business evolves, and so should your ERP. If your business grows and you need more capacity in your ERP, you should be able to scale up. There may be modules you may no longer use as time goes by, and thus, you should be able to scale down. Make sure flexibility is offered.
An ERP is a one-time investment. Choose wisely.
Choosing the right ERP solution is essential so you can manage your business efficiently. ERP solutions are expensive, and implementations take time and effort. Ask all the right questions, and make a list of things that are pertinent to choosing a good ERP. Better still, speak to ERP experts who understand your unique needs and will be able to suggest products that are best suited for your business.
- Start with evaluating your needs and expectations, and speak to your staff and team members.
- Ensure that you speak to vendors and get the answers you need.
- Investigate deeper to ensure that the ERP solution of your choice has all the features you need and that the vendor offers ongoing support.
- Once you have all your answers, you can make the big decision of purchasing an ERP.