In a way, the process of choosing the best suitable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for your business is no less than bride hunting for an eligible bachelor. In both the cases, one wants a long-term association, which is not only trustworthy but also understands and fills the gap of each other’s requirements. Since there is a lot of capital investment involved, no one wants costly and bitter divorces or precisely, implementation failures. However, the vendor you approach will never turn down your proposal, unlike the real-life bride or groom.
Any organization considers adopting an ERP solution to manage financial, inventory, production, and supply chain challenges in a more efficient way. But, in the process of selecting the best suitable solution for your business, you encounter a number of issues before reaching a fruitful, result oriented solution. This blog tries to guide you through the key steps for selecting the right ERP software.
Moving ahead without review and analysis is a mistake– Strength weakness opportunity threat (SWOT) analysis, the basic and most essential step in ERP selection, should be conducted and documented based on your current business operations. In order to avoid ‘blow up in face’ situations, the analysis should also include the desired customization and your expectations from the solution. Everything has to be time bound with regular analysis or deviation check in order for your business to be within the time frame.
Planning & Preparation is the key– Before you take the plunge, everything from soup to nuts should be well thought of and properly planned for a rewarding ERP solution. Prepare a list of expectations from your ERP but remember ‘The motto of the wise is to be prepared for surprise!’- Always keep room for the unexpected, this way you will always have a workaround and the blow will be less intense. Plan your move, have the right people with sufficient knowledge of your operations and business processes fetched in the team. Set deadlines for the every stage of your ERP selection, from searching/googling to shortlisting to taking a demo and finally giving your thumbs up. This prevents the selection process from going in an endless loop.
The secret to happily ever after is choosing the right partner– Select the vendor smartly by judging them on various parameters such as solution capability, industry knowledge, implementation experience, time and cost, support and services terms, etc. Always ask for a product demo and their customer references to evaluate available options and zeroing on any particular vendor. Such comparison also helps you to figure out all possible customizations you can ask from the vendor, you finally selected. Additional tip: The success for ERP vendor & client association largely depends on the decided business terms and conditions at the elementary stage. Mutual acceptance of them on paper is very important so that neither party can diverge from the pact at any stage of implementation.
Budget is the deciding factor– Undoubtedly, ERP systems are costly, difficult to integrate, and challenging in terms of measuring ROI, but if you are able to manage the funds the result will worth the cost of the solution. The best way is to break down payments into equal instalments at each succeeding stage of the implementation. So check, if your vendor is ready for this. Also, ensure to figure out “hidden costs” associated with the solution, including consultation charges, hardware investment, implementation cost, maintenance, upgrades, service charges, etc. Like this, you save your company from suffering a serious monetary setback.
Keep room for technological modifications– Since ERP is a technological initiative; it should well align with your current IT infrastructure and should be scalable enough to meet your future goals. Considering the latest trends like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analysis, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and such, ensure that your product is flexible enough to accommodate it later in the scene.
Education, Training and Support lay the foundation for crisis management– It’s important you select an ERP that’s easy to use and possesses a simple friendly GUI. That doesn’t mean that way you can ignore the importance of training. Training, knowledge base and support are a major factor in giving a thumbs up to an ERP. Check for the dedicated training schedules and documented knowledge transfer for future reference. Dyed-in-the-wool post-implementation support is the sign of a good vendor and if one doesn’t offer that; you must ask for it determinately. You can easily sidestep technical difficulties and production halts later, only with a strong customer support.
Conforming to existing operations, infrastructure, and business processes are obligatory for any ERP solution to become best suited for your company. ERP, being a transformational business change and bringing key competitive advantages to your company, should be adopted after rigorous brainstorming and expert analysis. Apart from the above-discussed suggestions, the decision should never be taken in the absence of adequate information. If you have any other significant concerns regarding ERP selection, then feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org