A Simple Guide to Help You Determine the Best ERP Solution for Your Company
As a leader of a growing company, you are tasked with countless decisions on a day-to-day basis. From the mundane to the monumental, your choices affect your bottom line and your teams’ livelihood. When it comes to choosing the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, you may feel the weight of the decision on the monumental side of the scale. Out of all the business transformations you can undergo, none have the potential to revolutionize your back office operation like an ERP. So if you’ve decided it’s time to get rid of outdated and dysfunctional legacy point-solutions, get prepared to embark on a significant journey with your teams.
Before we dive in further, Thomas Wailgum and Bart Perkins at CIO.com give us a great working definition for ERP software:
“Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software standardizes, streamlines, and integrates business processes across finance, human resources, procurement, distribution, and other departments. Typically the software operates on an integrated software platform using common data definitions operating on a single database.”
In a lot of ways your ERP software will work as the core of your business, synthesizing data and making it available for process automation throughout the company. This will affect nearly every part of your operations downstream, and will have a direct impact on your employees daily work.
How do you go about choosing which software will suit your needs, balancing effectiveness, function, and cost? We’ve outlined six best practices to follow as you consider your next steps:
- Coach Your Upper Management to be “Digital”: The success of your implementation will depend on buy-in from everyone in your organization, but none more than the “bosses.” In my experience the projects that have failed the hardest or been delayed the longest have been hindered by leadership that didn’t see the big digital picture. Executives who fall victim to hearsay over data don’t truly understand ROI.
- Vet Multiple Software Packages: This sounds intuitive, but clients often make an ERP choice based on previous experience with a particular solution. Get out of your comfort zone so that you can find the right fit for your organization. The Oracles and SAPs of the world have been around for years, but newer providers like Odoo offer open source flexibility. Don’t just go with what you know, but ask questions about the company as well as the software.
- Don’t Let Salespeople Make Your Decision for You: Every one of the large ERP providers will tell you they are the best option. If it were up to their marketing and sales departments, you wouldn’t think there were any other options on the table. Make sure that you are pitting different solutions against each other based on how they will help your business, not how well a salesperson did their job.
- Create a Unique Decision Tree for Your Needs: As you are analyzing different ERP options, outline the minimum requirements your company will need as a starting point, then build out additional features and functions you would like to see.
- Keep Digital Transformation (Dx) at the Forefront: Is this function going to eliminate manual processes? Will this function require an integrated 3rd party package? Does this data flow from beginning to end without manual intervention? Are the appropriate approvals and checks built into the workflow?
- Partner With An Independent Consultant: Make sure you have an advocate on your side who is solution agnostic and understands the entire marketplace. This is the only way to ensure that you choose the right software for your needs.
If you’re looking for a trusted advisor with an expert team to help guide you through your ERP selection, let us help. We’ll talk you through how to begin your search and how our team can help deliver for you every step of your journey when you’re ready to start your transformation. Don’t hesitate to reach out today!