If you’ve been on the fence, wondering, and perhaps, a bit confused on how to select an ERP to manage your organization, you are not alone. Most business owners spend months before deciding on an ERP solution, and for good reason, too. Successful ERP implementation and deployment depends on a number of dynamic factors, but it also depends on choosing the right ERP vendor.
Because ERP is a specialized software, both business and technical knowledge are required to make the right selection. As a result, a professional ERP consultant is often necessary to help you jumpstart the process, and take you through the various stages, including pre-sales, purchasing, data migration, implementation, system onboarding and employee training, and more. Choosing not only the right ERP, but the best cloud ERP for your business, depends on various operational needs unique to each organization.
Luckily, there are a few steps on route that are common to just about every ERP selection process. We’ve shortened the list to the top five initial steps you can take to choose the right ERP, or rather, the best ERP for your business.
- Evaluate your ERP readiness. Objectively evaluate what the impact of ERP implementation is going to be, and what changes can be expected in your organization as a result. It’s equally important for your employees, not only your management team, to be receptive towards ERP adoption as well. This is also the time to determine when you should actually implement the system, based on several catalysts, such as migrating data or uninstalling unwanted legacy software. ERP readiness also depends on physical infrastructure, and carefully evaluating the hardware you will have to purchase to support an on-premise ERP system.
- Your choice: On-premise, cloud or hybrid. On-premise ERP is installed on location, whereas cloud ERP is delivered as a Software-as-a-Service solution. A hybrid ERP combines both these approaches, and delivers specific features and functionality via the cloud, while others are stored locally. You’ll want to choose the right model depending on how sensitive your business data is, and what your technological objectives are. Most businesses today opt for cloud ERP solutions, as they are more affordable, and take up virtually no space on your physical IT infrastructure.
- Integration? Make a shopping list. Businesses often use ERP in conjunction with multiple other software solutions, such as e-commerce, HR, CRM, document management, and more. It’s important to make a list of these and other third-party software products and applications, to ensure that your chosen ERP is compatible, and that these solutions can be seamlessly integrated into your ERP system. You will most likely need to use connectors to integrate multiple software programs with your ERP. The ERP you choose should facilitate integrations quickly, easily, and without errors.
- Flexibility and scalability are key. When it comes to ERP, it’s always better to start out small, and then add features as and when you need them. Especially ERPs Solutions for small and growing businesses, it’s not necessary to onboard an entire ERP suite when you presumably need just a few basic operational modules. Make sure that the ERP solution you intend to purchase is flexible and scalable, and that you can easily add features and functionality as your business grows. In addition, request a demo, so that you can see and understand, up front, what the system looks like and how it actually feels when using it. Seek your employees’ input well, since they’re the ones who, at the end of the day, will be your ERP users, and future ERP experts.
- Training and post-sales support. ERP software is a complex software that comes with multiple modules and functionality to address different business processes and workflows. This means that it also has a steep learning curve for which training is necessary. After carefully evaluating the other factors noted here, make sure the vendor you choose provides user training, even if it comes at an additional cost. Several studies have shown that successful ERP implementation depends on successful employee training, where your teams are primed and ready to onboard the new system, no matter their level of tech expertise. In addition, choose a vendor who offers reliable, always-available post-sales customer support and service, and system maintenance.
So many choices… so little time
Make no mistake, ERP software is a costly, long-term investment. Most businesses benefit from an initial ERP readiness assessment carried out by your ERP vendor. The next step is to decide if your ERP system will be installed locally (on-premise), or will be deployed in the cloud (SaaS-based). Make a list of the software programs you already use, so that integrations do not encounter compatibility issues. Shortlist a few vendors, and ask for reference customers to properly evaluate user experience. Make sure the vendor offers a scalable solution along with employee training. Finally, look for an ERP provider who offers comprehensive post-sales support and maintenance. In short, choose your ERP system, slowly and carefully, and consult with an ERP professional, so that your decision is backed by objective insights.
If you’d like to learn more about choosing the best cloud ERP for your organization, contact us to schedule a no-obligation call with one of our ERP experts.