Deciding you need a new ERP to boost your business is the easy part. Finding the right fit is where the difficulty begins. Since your business has its own set of needs, you’ll need a selection process that properly reflects those needs in the fine details, as well as the broad strokes.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the big-picture items that you’ll need to address to ensure your ERP is useable, no matter what industry or job function you’re in.
First and foremost, you want your ERP to relieve headaches instead of creating them. It should also support budget cost reductions and optimizations too.
Achieving this requires your ERP to work with the existing platforms you have, either through direct integrations and included middleware, or by supporting APIs and electronic data interchanges (EDI). These integrations allow you to utilize ERP functionality across your entire supply chain, addressing issues with suppliers as well as those you supply.
The more you share data within your own business units and with your customers, the more you can expect better returns and happier relationships, as well as customer insights.
Data is only good if it is useful. Your ERP should present information in a way that your teams can use it, not just raw exports that they will then feed through other tools and platforms.
The best way to ensure you get actionable data and business intelligence is to match your ERP to your industry, products, and company size. Ask your stakeholders what they need and include these requirements in your ERP selection process.
Every functionality needs a relevant piece of data and reporting, and vendors should be able to show you this.
The average company will see an ERP used by more than a third of its workforce, according to Software Path. When a platform is used by so many different departments, all of whom have their own way to accomplish positive outcomes for your business, there are few uniform functions and activities they share.
This diverse set of requirements typically means you’ll want an ERP that’s flexible in multiple ways. It should be able to create a variety of dashboards and reports that are user or group-specific, plus share data with all the tools each team needs — that’s why we started by calling integration a superpower.
Choose a solution that’s flexible enough to give every group the support they need and be sure to include mobile apps and access to support today’s increasingly on-the-go world.
People are more likely to stick with user-friendly software. Choosing an ERP that is like other consumer technology or has an intuitive design makes your team more likely to adopt the ERP, and not revert back to old habits.
Change management is difficult, and not having a smart plan quickly leads to people cutting corners or trying to work around the new system instead of with it. Select a friendly ERP and give your team their best chance to adopt it, which also gives you a significant chance of seeing a positive ROI in the near term.
Geoff Whiting writes for ERP Focus. He is an experienced journalist, writer, and business development consultant with a focus on enterprise technology, e-commerce, and supply chain development.