When you’re in the process of selecting a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered. You should be looking at your business’s potential growth and thinking about the people who will be overseeing the processes held within the system. It’s vital to take on a bit of due diligence as you decide which systems will work best for you and which processes you’re trying to aid during the evaluation activities.
If you choose wrong and roll out an inadequate ERP system, you can waste a lot of time and money—as well as cause a lot of frustration on behalf of both your team and the vendor you’re working with. If you don’t do your homework, you could wind up facing increasing costs of ownership, service failures, and below-standard software that doesn’t perform as you’d hoped it would.
To avoid these pitfalls, here are a few considerations to think about as you’re evaluating your next ERP solution:
1. System Requirements
Before you can do anything, you need to figure out what your business needs are, based on your current and anticipated future states. Many manufacturers today are faced with the problem of managing growth expectations. As such, it pays to know where your business is now and where it’s heading in the future. The solutions you choose for your organization need to be able to support your goals, even as your business and industry evolve with the changing times.
Figure out what processes, staffing requirements, and technologies your new system will need to be supported properly. Utilize team members from cross-functional groups within your organization to help you determine the vision of your new ERP solution; not only will the insights from these various professionals help you glean insight into the purchase of your ERP system, but they’ll also serve as training mechanisms going forward.
Learn more in 8 Must Have Features in Your ERP Software.
2. Senior Management’s Support
You need to make sure you have the buy-in from your senior leadership. If you’re considering a product that doesn’t have full support from senior management, you’re likely to face roadblocks and skepticism. Sure, you can usually roll out much of your ERP solution to lower levels of the organization without any problem, but senior managers are usually the ultimate deciders when it comes to success or failure.
When you involve upper management in the ERP system selection process, you’ll help to ensure an ongoing commitment to the solution that gets chosen. Executives often don’t necessarily receive benefits from the ERP solution directly, but when they get the chance to buy in on the final decision, a few salient details can go a long way.
3. Project Roadmaps
A clear roadmap can help you show senior leaders when they should expect the rollout to take place, how much money is involved, and why it will be useful to the organization once it’s been implemented. The smoother you can make this transition, the more likely you are to be supported from the top, down. This means you need to anticipate and document some important factors, such as what steps will be involved in the transition and which processes and functional roles will be affected by the changes being proposed.
4. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
There will always be extra expenses beyond the initial outlay of a plan. As you embark on your journey to find a new ERP system, consider how much future upgrades will cost, what kind of hardware you’ll need to buy, and what kind of implementation costs you’ll be looking at in the future. You’ll also need to take into account any training and consulting fees that might come your way.
Your total cost of ownership is all-encompassing. Thinking about all of these aspects can help you prove your due diligence and bring a well-rounded understanding of your plan into place.
5. Peer References
Reviews and references mean a lot these days. Just as in the consumers world—where many people are looking on Yelp and Google Reviews for opinions of their peers before they make purchases—organizations are doing the same thing before they opt for a major ERP implementation.
Connect with your peers through industry groups or business networks to find useful recommendations and insight. It’s always nice to hear first-hand experiences of the successes and challenges that occur from certain products. When you’re armed with this kind of knowledge, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy in the long run.
6. Partner Relationships
A solid relationship with your partner can be very useful, particularly if it’s established early on. If you get to know the partner during the evaluation stage—then nurture that relationship through the purchase stage and beyond—you’ll have someone who can make a big difference when you have questions or need something from product. If you don’t have a great relationship with the vendor, it can be harder to get to the roots of your problems and find solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Learn more in our article: The Role of an ERP Partner From Decision to Implementation.
7. Deployment Flexibility
Deployment options can really make or break it when it comes to selecting the right ERP vendor. For instance, cloud deployments are maturing and increasing in demand, which means you might want to know what your organization’s options are if you’re not currently set up with a cloud ERP system. Some vendors allow for cloud and onsite deployments, but you should really look into which option is best for your company before you commit to one single type of deployment.
Cloud 9 ERP Solutions: Gold Certified, Award-Winning Acumatica Partner
When it comes to ERP, you have options. Finding the right one is rarely an easy journey, and finding a partner to deliver the solution you need is even harder. If you need a business management solution ready for your unique business, you need a partner with the experience and expertise to get you there.
At Cloud 9 ERP Solutions, a Gold Certified Acumatica Partner, we have worked with companies like yours to configure, implement, and deliver Acumatica Cloud ERP, a product ready and able to handle your challenges.
With a unique consultation process, we get to know you and your business, finding what works best for your organization, tailoring a solution based on your needs, and implementing the solution how you choose, and training users not just to survive with a new solution, but thrive.