What to look for in a new ERP…
Having helped many businesses around this very question we would like to share our thoughts on what a business should look for in a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Unlike years ago when most businesses went with common vendors, today there are many options and so many industry specific apps out there that it is almost a full-time job keeping up with what is available.
First question to ask is this – why are you looking for a new ERP system? Is the current system broken or inefficient? Do you have an existing system, or have you outgrown your current accounting software?
From the back of this question ask yourself – how can a new system improve the performance and efficiency of the business? There is no point in moving to a new system unless it is going to deliver quantifiable improvements and cost savings. The most common form of business improvement is freeing up staff members from reactive data handling to proactive sales and account management duties and tasks.
Next point is ERP integrations – do you currently have multiple systems meeting your operational requirements? If so, what systems would you be replacing and what would you be retaining? Consider applications such as CRM, email servers, website content management (eg. WordPress), office productivity applications etc… You should expect the ERP system to integrate with systems that you are looking to retain to avoid additional data handling.
Keep in mind, an ERP system is much more than an accounting software. It encompasses business communications (emailing, sms), workflows / business processes, performance management (budgets, KPIs), reporting / business intelligence, human resources management, sales / CRM, document / knowledge management and much more.
Are your ERP needs standard industry requirements or do you require a custom application that can only be met with an adhoc solution? This is important as if you have custom requirements you need to ensure the ERP solution is capable of facilitating custom development within the application, no point in getting a system that is going to be restrictive in modification and customisation.
Next question – what are your requirements today and what do you perceive your requirements to be in the future? No point in getting a system that will not accommodate your future plans. Recent trends in ERPs have been centred around web integrations and mobility (including tablets. smart phones) and it is difficult to determine what will be next, perhaps we will see more enhancements in self-service and ‘sharing’ between customers and suppliers.
If you need any help with the evaluation and scoping of a new ERP, please feel free to contact us.