Making the decision to move to an integrated ERP system can be a big step, so it’s important to understand the main things to look for when selecting a new system. Not only should the ERP help manage business processes with ease, it should offer specific functionality for industry and be able to support the company well into the future with next generation technology.
Based on industry research and our own knowledge of ERP software, here are the top ten things we think companies should look for when selecting a new ERP system, ranked in order of importance.
It might seem an obvious choice, but a good fit between the software’s functionality and the business’s requirements is crucial. Too often companies select a system based on recognisability rather than usefulness. Organizations must be sure to review fit and functionality, including industry-specific features and functions, when selecting a new ERP.
How much does the solution offer? Will you be required to purchase a number of point solutions alongside the ERP to get the full functionality you need? An enterprise solution should be a one-stop place for most business management functions, so single end-to-end software systems are more cost-effective in the short term and will require less money spent on development and interfacing between disparate systems.
Reporting and Analytics
The modern world thrives on analytics. An ERP with built-in business intelligence, analytics, and reporting is crucial for companies who want to stay on top of business trends, performance, KPIs, and KBIs. Why spend more on a separate and disconnected reporting system when you can purchase an ERP with the same built-in functionality?
Plenty of software packages claim full integration, but it’s important to ensure that the final product delivers on its promises. Integration is key for organizations that want to reduce duplicate data entry and maintain communication throughout the company.
User Interface and Experience
You’re looking for an integrated solution that manages all aspects of your business, so you want the best user experience possible. A consistent User Interface (UI) means that the software looks and feels the same throughout the system and in each module, so that you don’t have to learn where everything is each time you use different parts of the software.
The total cost of the system is an important point to consider. Is the cost for ownership or for a monthly subscription? Will you require extensive customization to meet your business needs with the software? The total cost of an ERP system includes not only the software, but also the implementation services. Many companies state that it’s a 1:1 cost (i.e. the services will cost the same as the software), but in reality, it is often much higher. When selecting a new ERP system, it’s important to understand not only how much the software will cost up front, but how much you’ll be paying for support fees, subscription fees, and customization.
How big is your company and how strong is your internet connection? Do you have on-site IT support or is it outsourced? There are several big questions that go alongside the decision to host on-site or in the cloud. Organizations must take everything into consideration before making their choice—what works for some companies might not work for others.
Speed of Implementation
Are you purchasing your ERP from a reseller or directly from the company that owns the software? Experts in the software will take the least amount of time to implement the solution. Look at a reseller or vendor’s implementation history and contact client references to determine how they approach implementation, whether their projects were delivered on time and on budget, and whether there were any issues during the actual implementation.
In this day and age, mobile access is one of the most important features for any company looking for new software. Particularly for companies with employees in the field, mobility helps keep projects moving when information is needed at any time, from anywhere.
Finally, integration with social media is a key aspect of next generation ERP systems. The ability to share to sites like LinkedIn is integral to organizations wanting to stay connected to other members of the industry through their social accounts.
Every company is different and requires different things from their software, so be sure to consider specific business requirements when evaluating new ERP systems. At the end of the day, you want to find a system that benefits your organization, helps streamline processes, and provides an efficient way to manage business information—all within your budget.