Progress and practicality have seen to it that enterprise resource planning software is now an essential hallmark of a streamlined, thriving business. But this reality arrives in the company of a market flooded with ERP software offerings, damning folks seeking the best solution for their needs with a tyranny of choice.
There are the matters of price, features, technology and brand. Integration, upgrading and mobility. And the list goes on.
But smart ERP software is intended to simplify things. Don’t get sucked into its ironic opposite in the choosing of the stuff.
To that end, five tips for picking the best ERP software for your company:
1. Hone in on what your company needs, rather than what your options are. A precise appreciation of your current business processes’ pain points and weaknesses, in addition to those functions with which your organization requires support, will better furnish your pursuit than allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by the glut of features will.
2. Be comprehensive in your assessment of costs. In other words, don’t just focus on the initial price of purchase and setup; consider TCO issues such as hardware upgrades, ongoing implementation, software maintenance, system functionality and activating e-commerce capabilities.
3. Look to the future. It’s one thing to get a handle on the functionality you need today, but what of tomorrow? A long-term technology vision should be a key determinant in assessing ERP contenders. And while you’re future-focused, explore how the system (and the vendor) keeps up with new regulatory requirements.
4. Check your learning curve. An ERP system’s ease of use is critical. You load yourself up for trouble by picking a solution that’s tricky for employees to wrap their brains around. You can have the greatest software in the world but if your people can’t utilize it, you might as well have stuck with the spreadsheets. An intuitive user experience will shrink training time and costs — and accelerate adoption.
5. Acquaint yourself with the vendor. Choosing the vendor is an essential element of choosing software. The organization you pick will be a partner for many years. Ask potential vendors about available training. Get references. Look for evidence of responsive support, regular product releases and user forums. And make sure your chosen vendor knows your business and where it’s headed.
Deploying an ERP system is an expensive proposition that calls for all kinds of resources and time. Don’t let yourself get so blinded by flash-over-substance vendor hype that you deprive yourself of a viable, useful long-term ERP solution. Pick wisely.