Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integrates various business processes such as CRM, sales, inventory, manufacturing, and accounting into one complete system. Succesful business leaders today certainly acknowledge the value of having the right ERP solution as it can help streamline business processes and increase productivity. However, there is a misconception that ERP is just for the bigger companies. In fact, even small businesses can benefit from having an ERP system, especially if the system is modular and can grow as the business expands.
There are so many ERP systems available in the market, make sure to spend some time choosing the right ERP solution for your business because it will stay with you for the next 10 to 15 years. Below are 5 tips to help you in your ERP evaluation process.
1. Define business needs and prioritize requirements
The goal of every ERP system is to streamline business processes. Before selecting an ERP system, take some time to analyze your business processes and identify all the weak points that can only be improved by an ERP system. Start by identifying what challanges you want to solve and what your current system is not doing for you. Then, create a complete list of software features required to address your business challanges. When your list is complete, you can start dividing your list into “must-have” and “nice-to-have features.” This research process serves as the starting point of the software selection process. By knowing what you need, you will be in better position to control the selection process instead of having software vendors dictate your business needs.
2. Choose an ERP system that fits your business processes
Generally, ERP systems can be customized or modified to fit your business needs. However, not every feature in the ERP system is flexible and customizeable, especially core ERP worflows. If you have to change your core business processes to fit the workflow of the ERP system, then the ERP solution might not be a good fit for your business.
3. Pick a user-friendly ERP system
User interface is an important aspect of any ERP system. An unsuitable user interface can slow down your workflow and increase user training cost. Most ERP systems typically have many functionalities, but are not user-friendly. Look for an ERP system that gives you access to your business solutions no matter where you are and what device you are using. Displaying inventory levels to the sales team on a client site. Allowing managers to remotely approve purchase requisitions. Letting employees record timesheets on their own time. These are mobile frienndly ERP features that can boost productivity and flexibility.
4. Compare prices
Do a throrough search to develop a list of vendors that seem to meet your business needs. After you have narrowed to top two or three vendors, you can now ask for a detailed request for quotation (RFQ) and compare them based on: implementation, license, customization, training, maintenance, and version upgrade costs. Don’t forget to ask about hardware and networking costs required for the sytem to run smoothly. Notice that every ERP software has its own pricing model (monthly subscription, up-front payment). You need to normalize the quotations and compare them apples-to-apples to determine the most cost-efficient solution.
5. Pick the implementer as well as the ERP system
The decision of selecting the right ERP system can be heavily influenced by who is implementing and deploying the ERP software. A highly sophisticated ERP system implemented by an amateur implementation partner might not give the results expected. As a certified Odoo Indonesia partner, we have come across a lot of ERP implementation failures due to bad technology and incompetent implementers. Some clients suffer from slow loading reports that takes up to 6+ hours to generate. Some world-class ERP systems that costs billions of rupiah (100K+ USD) even became unusable after heavy customizations and configurations from amateur implementers. Make sure to explore the technical expertise and reputation of the implementation partners before moving forward with the implementation project.