5 Tips For Selecting an ERP System
No matter what industry you are in, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems play a critical role in enabling improved efficiency and visibility into the daily workings of any company. It is also no secret that the market is flooded more than ever, with dozens of products to choose from. So what should one look for when considering investing in an ERP system? Let’s take a look at a few important considerations!
Do you have an ERP Partner?
Doing research on what products are out there and which industries they cater to, is one step in acquiring an ERP system, however, you won’t get far without an ERP partner. When considering partners, get to know the companies you are considering. Do they know your industry? Do they have a proven track record in implementation and on-going support? There are many partners out there, but finding the one that will be just as vested and committed to ensuring a successful implementation as you are, is just as important as the product selection itself!
Accessibility and User-Friendliness
When shopping for an ERP system, don‘t be afraid to “kick the tires”. Ask some key questions:
- How do users access the system?
- Do you have just on-premise users or sales and service folks out in the field, as well?
- Can users access the prospective ERP system from multiple kinds of devices or platforms?
- How easy is it to navigate through system processes and features?
Rolling out a user-friendly system will aid in successful user adoption and in general help naturally improve efficiencies. Many of the above questions can be answered by seeing a demo of the product you are looking for. Don’t hesitate to ask your ERP partner for one!
Integration and “Playing Well” With Others
Another critical piece of the ERP decision-making process should include integrations to existing systems. Do the products you are considering not only have the ability to integrate to your “must-have” current systems, but HOW do they integrate? Is the user-interface easy to use and cost-friendly? This will quickly become one of the most important subjects on your criteria list, whether you realize it or not!
Business Intelligence & Reporting
Most ERP systems are built to process the same basic daily business processes in a similar manner, but where you will find they stand out is on the subject of Business Intelligence and Reporting. Many ERP systems have BI technology and tools built into their stock product and enable end-users to customize those features, to maximize visibility. Additionally, reporting is equally important. What are some of the most valuable pieces of information you are looking to gain from reports? Accessibility, design capabilities, and scalability, are just a few qualities and values to keep in mind.
The Glass Slipper (a.k.a. Finding a Good Fit)
No system is perfect, but getting as close of a good fit in the beginning of the process, will increase your ROI, and make for happy users. Look for a system that is specific to your industry, and is scalable. The words “custom programming” or multiple add-on products should hopefully not be words you hear in conversation. Being able to utilize an ERP system out of the box as much as possible will enable you to keep implementation and future upgrade costs at a more manageable level.
Whether you are in the market now, or perhaps later, for a new ERP system, make sure to do your homework! There are many things to take into consideration during this process. Hopefully, you will find the excursion of selecting a new ERP system a bit easier now!
Written by Cindy Whitlock, ERP Consultant at DSD Business Systems