How do we choose the right ERP software?
The decision to choose an ERP solution to meet the needs of an organization is as important to the organization as difficult, because of the multitude of market offers. However, due to the industry fragmentation and the specialization of ERP solutions, none of these vendors provides the required capabilities. This is why we offer some ideas for guiding you in choosing an ERP solution.
Our consultants are available with more information or to assess your actual needs.
The capability of the software solution
The flexibility of the solution. A software solution that needs additional code programming for a customization according to your needs is not desirable as compared to a solution that proves increased flexibility via configurations and customizations through visual, user-friendly tools that can be easily used by any employee of the company, without special training.
The set of features and capabilities. For any missing function or for any capability the product does not fulfill, you should turn to internal development efforts or to additional applications that finally lead to higher cost of ownership (TCO) and to a slower return on investment (ROI). Many ERP implementations fail (they do not become a part of the employees' life) due to lack of some features needed by the organizations.
The automation of business processes. Entering data in a software applications is one thing, using a software application for automating the business processes is an entirely different thing. The software applications that are weak regarding the automation of business processes offer the lowest return on investment (ROI), because they do not offer valuable knowledge, working practices or processes and manufacturing flows specific to the your industry.
Easy access to information. You do not gain any competitive advantage if you only store data in a software application, if these data are not integrated, processed and disseminated into useful information for the management and planning of the internal resources. The true competitive advantage lies in quick access to information, anytime, anywhere. Retrieving a critical information needed at the right moment leads to the easier acceptance of the software application by the users and to a faster return on investment. Reports as much as flexible, analyses as much as detailed or the transparency of the internal projects and resource planning are critical attributes for any ERP application.
The software platform. The platform the software application is developed on is critical to be easily customized by the customer, integrated with the existing resources or even internally developed to cover new features and capabilities. You reduce the usage costs if you choose software applications with open architectures, accessible support and integrated development tools.
Maintenance costs. The free customization tools are significantly different from one vendor to the other. Choose a vendor that uses accessible, user-friendly customization tools that can be used by non-technical people in order to reduce as much as possible the additional programming costs.
The implementation expertise
The duration of the implementation. The duration of the implementation is usually the most important factor that is not taken into account when choosing an ERP application. The duration of the implementation is the factor with the highest impact on costs and internal productivity, because a data migration includes the interruption of the most critical operations.
The methodology of the implementation. Approaching an implementation based on a detailed project plan, as well as the expertise of the people who conduct the implementation are critical for the implementation success of an ERP solution.
The business expertise. The implementation of an ERP solution is less connected to the software solution. The implementation of an ERP solution means adopting a business strategy, an organizational culture change, an intention statement from the company's management.
Technical support is another key factor that affects the adoption of the solution, the success of the implementation or the speed of return on investment.
A dedicated account. Calling the technical support just to be permanently redirected or put on hold, or leaving a message on an answering machine does not solve your problems immediately, in a professional manner. Check if there is a possibility for a dedicated account manager to centralize and respond to all your situations or requirements.
The reaction time. It is a successful factor, especially important for the large companies. Even if usually the guaranteed reaction time is stipulated in the service contract, a fast reaction time to different requests is an important factor to be considered.
24/7. For medium companies it can be a basic need only in rare cases, but it is surely a differentiator for the large companies. Check carefully, in case you estimate you need non-stop technical support (if the sales force or the technical support team works in night shifts), if the vendor of the ERP solution provides 24/7 support.