It’s been building up for some time, your staff have been complaining that they can't do their jobs properly, it takes them far too long to complete specific tasks, they haven't got access to the right information and they don’t know what everyone else is doing in the business. Your directors are on your case because they can't get the reports they need to make the critical decisions that will take the business to the next level. Generally, things just seem to be stuck in a rut and changes need to be made in order for the business to move forward.
Luckily, you’ve been considering your options for some time and you know exactly what you need in order to solve these issues; replacing your existing software. You’ve been to the Board, explained the issues and they have given their approval. The task ahead of you now is to find the right system that will solve your issues and make your business more efficient.
This is probably one of the biggest decisions and investments that a business is likely to make, so you need to ensure that you scope out the project fully and research your options to make certain that you pick the system that's right for you.
Where do I start?
ERP Central have outlined the 7 things you need to consider and ask yourself when choosing an ERP system. This list is in no particular order but they are all steps that you should cover off during the process.
1. Outline the business critical issues you want to resolve
Get a clear understanding of what issues and challenges the business is facing and why you should be replacing your software. There should be a valid reason for migrating to a business-wide ERP system and the choice of system should be made based on the suitability of it to your particular business and not just because it looks good. Too many companies have invested in an ERP system without giving enough thought to its capabilities and what it can specifically do for them. As a result, they soon feel the effects of such a heavy investment.
2. Make a list of requirements before looking at solutions
Get the opinions and feedback of the people that use the existing system (or systems) on a daily basis, understand what their issues are and the tools they need to help them be more efficient, productive and ultimately help the company to become more profitable. This will give you a number of must-have features for your new solution.
3. Consider the functionality that you need
Think about what functionality you are currently missing and what functionality you’ll require in the future to resolve your issues. Look at your current processes, understand the shortfalls of each department and how you need them to communicate with other elements of the business. Then think about how these processes can be automated to help streamline the business.
4. Think about the future
You want your software to last. When buying an ERP system, decisions are often made in relation to what the business needs now, but very rarely do they consider where the business is aiming to be in the future. So get a clear understanding of the future plans and ambitions of the business so that you can factor this into your search.
5. Understand the budget available
It is important that you know what sort of budget you are working with, as that will help you to draw up a shortlist of the most appropriate ERP systems that can meet your requirements and financial constraints. However, don’t let budget become a barrier and settle for a less-than-average solution that won't match your requirements properly. If you need to pay a little more to get the right system, then it could very well be worth the investment and pay back in the future.
Deciding what functionality you require is one thing but you also need to decide who will be using the system and what areas of the application they need to access in order to perform their job effectively. So it's important to understand how many users are needed within each function, as that will have an impact on the cost of the ERP system.
7. Decide how you want to report
One of the most important considerations is deciding what sort of information will be needed by the Directors of the company and how they would like the reports to be presented to them. If the new ERP system does not have the reporting functionality you require, then it's not worth considering.
These 7 steps should be part of the decision making process when considering a review of ERP. However, they are not the only questions you should ask yourself. These will be dictated by the specific needs of your particular company and the industry in which you operate.
When you have considered all of these steps, then you are ready to start contacting ERP partners to arrange demonstrations. However, if you do need help finding the right partner you can find out more about specific sectors here and get in touch with us for more information.
Happy reviewing & good luck with your project.
Article written by Mark Blackmore, Head of Telemarketing at QBS Group
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