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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.