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What to consider when selecting and implementing an ERP system

Selecting and implementing a new enterprise resource planning (aka ERP) software is a huge pain for many businesses. That’s largely because of the inherent costs and logistical challenges that it poses.

You’ve got to consider all of the licensing dollars, maintenance, training, time, and more that goes into making the switch. It’s a common concern for business. Nearly 50% of companies are soon planning (or have already started) to acquire and upgrade their ERP system.

To make the implementation as painless as possible, you’ll want to ensure that you do your homework on selecting the right software ahead of time.

Lucky for you, you’re reading something that can help you out.

Here’s what you need to know before you implement your new ERP system.

Consider your organization’s needs

ERP software can vary greatly in terms of software capabilities.

Keep in mind your needs, both in the present and the future. The last thing you’d want to do is spend on a system that is a bad fit for your business. That goes for both overkill (too many features that cost a lot and aren’t relevant to your business) and underkill (limited features that save money, but can’t fulfill your needs).

Did you know? According to Panorama’s ERP report, the most common reason to implement ERP was to improve business performance.

Additionally, you’ll want to look into ERP software that’s relevant to your industry and company needs. It’s always a plus if you’ve got the tools that are custom-crafted to answer your unique issues.

Key takeaways:

  • Define the scope of the project and your organizational needs
  • Study the capabilities of potential ERP software to prevent a bad fit
  • Seek out a system that works within your vertical

Consider the flexibility and ease of use

You’ll be relying on your ERP software a whole lot. Choose a system that both has the features you need AND offers an intuitive user interface that works for your staff.

Pragmatically, that means having customization options that present the exact data that specific people need to see – and nothing else. If you need to create weird workarounds and frustrating loopholes to get work done within the ERP system, you should look for a better fit.

Additionally, make sure that your ERP system fits the needs of the modern business. It’s extremely beneficial to get a system that’s cloud accessible so you can work from wherever you are. That’s also true for mobile compatibility, which is quickly growing in adoption and usage in the ERP space.

Key takeaways:

  • Test out the ERP software first to see if it’s easy to use and intuitive
  • Ensure that it’s customizable to your needs
  • (Optional) See if it’s mobile and cloud-friendly and accessible

Consider the long-term ROI

Remember that ERP software is a means to an end – that is, growing your business and becoming more profitable than before.

While the immediate costs are something you should definitely consider, also keep the total cost of ownership (TCO) in the back of your mind. If your ERP system can evolve to fit your growing needs, you’ll find that the TCO is well worth it overall.

It’s easy to go overboard with costs. In fact, 64% of ERP projects go over budget.  That’s why it’s important to calculate the tangible ROI math of your ERP software. We like Acumatica’s calulator for that purpose.

Key takeaways:

  • Determine not just the initial costs, but the overall costs of the ERP software
  • Partner with an expert to help you determine ROI and TCO

To help with understanding the costs and implementation feasibility, it’s always a smart move to partner with an ERP systems expert. The value that they add comes in handy when determining which ERP platform is best for you in terms of capabilities, costs, implementation, and more.

What are the 5 most compelling reasons for managed IT services?

What is it about managed IT services that make them so appealing to businesses?

For starters, they allow businesses to shed the tedious (and challenging) task of managing technology and put it in the hands of experts. Many companies are already working with a “reactive” IT provider to some degree – that is, someone who been coming in to fix things only after they’ve broken.

But managed IT services changes the break/fix dynamic by putting proactive care of technology first.

It’s a win-win for both customers and IT service providers alike. IT service providers get to build partnerships that help them grow and sustain their business. Similarly, business owners get to unlock multiple benefits that they’d otherwise never get.

Let’s take a look at 5 of those benefits.

1. Reduced costs

Here’s a core business truth – broken technology quickly racks up a hefty bill. Managed services give you access to a team of IT experts whenever you need them for a flat monthly rate. The costs are far less than an in-house team with similar experience or a break-fix provider that charges by the hour.

2. Improved security

It’s not always about keeping things operational. Managed service providers also take great care to keep both your hardware and your software secure from dangerous cyberthreats that could cost you dearly.

The average cost of a single cyberattack sits around $5 million, with $1.25 million – a quarter of the total – attributed to system downtime and another $1.5 million (30%) to IT and end-user productivity loss.

3. Expedited growth

Partnering with a managed service provider gives you access to tools that enable better growth and scalability. Having a technology partner that understands your business lets you gain a CIO that can roadmap and plan your technology to support your growth with ample documentation along the way.

Helpful: 5 Server Maintenance Tips and Tricks to Better Support Your Business

4. Expert collaboration

Many organizations assume that outsourced IT providers “take over” everything IT. In reality, that’s not always the case. Managed services agreements are built to customize offerings to the unique needs of each company.

“Co-managed IT services can provide businesses with a broad range of experience and deep bench of experts beyond that of the existing in-house staff.” – The Business Journals

Of course, while that can mean taking over every aspect of IT, it can also mean working with an established in-house team to complete projects and upgrades together.

5. Functional technology

There’s little worse than subjecting your staff to the tortures of working with old and outdated hardware. Managed service partners ensure that your office is using technology that fits within your budget … while being conducive to a productive and functional environment … and not one that incites rage.

Related: Common Technology Problems Solved By an MSP

Finding the right IT partner

Locating the right partner doesn’t have to be hard. It’s simply a matter of talking to a managed service provider and seeing how they can help you run your business better.

Of course, before you go seeking all the IT people in the Tri-State Area, you could always give us a shot. We can help you turn your technology into a powerful asset for your business growth.

Looking for more to read? Check out the 6 IT Best Practices for Your Business.