ERP systems can automate your ordering processes, and make managing your business more efficient and therefore more profitable. However, as shown in our last blog, they can also be costly and time-consuming and may even be challenging regarding measuring ROI. As a company who offer independent ERP consulting services, we know the secret to getting your ERP implementation right is to choose the right system in the first place. But how do you do that? In this article, we will give you a brief overview of the structured overview you need to undertake, in partnership with your independent ERP consultant, to ensure you select the correct system for your business.
Step One – Identify System Requirements
The first and most important stage is to identify exactly why you want an ERP system and what you want it to achieve for your business. Choosing an ERP system is a complicated business, so the clearer and more wide-ranging your objectives for doing this are at the start, the more chance you will have of getting your selection right. Outlining your specific objectives and the problems you want the system to solve will help prevent you being swayed by the sales pitch of the software vendor.
Step Two – Specify Your ROI Goals
There are many websites out there that will warn you of how hard it is to accurately measure the return on investment from your ERP software, but if you have set down specific objectives as specified in step one, then this will help with this. There are many ways you may choose to calculate ERP performance, such as:
- Reduce inventory by X amount to result in an increase of accounting efficiency of Y
- Increase customer touches by X times in order to improve their lifetime value by Y(amount)
- Improve accuracy of manufacturing cost quotes by X% in Y(months)
Step Three – Focused Product Demonstrations
Once you have outlined your specific requirements for the system and how you will calculate the performance of the system, then you are ready to see some product demonstrations. The important thing to remember here is that it is your responsibility to provide the potential vendors with detailed information about what you want from the system so that they can then show you how well their system can handle that. The vendor should also cover areas such as implementation, customisation and ongoing maintenance and support.
Step Four – Find the Real Price
Our previous blog ‘An ERP Consulting Services Guide to ERP Costs‘ covers this in more detail but finding out exactly how much the upfront cost, maintenance cost, and support cost will be before you enter a contract will prevent any nasty surprises down the line.
Step Five – Check References
In our recent blog post ‘An Independent ERP Consultant’s Guide to ERP Reference Sites’ we talked about the importance of getting references from existing ERP system users so that you can get an unbiased view of the system and vendor you are thinking of going with. You can find out things such as which deadlines were met and which weren’t, whether the product doesn’t do something that the company was expecting it to, and whether there were any surprise additional costs.
You can discover a lot of the information outlined above online, but the information you discover may not be impartial, and it may not be that accurate. Working with an ERP consulting services company like Greenbeam means that not only do you get access to impartial advice (as we are not connected to any ERP software vendors) but you can also tap into our years of experience and knowledge as well.
So, we haven’t actually answered the question of how long it will take to choose an ERP system have we, but I think what you can gather from this article is that it is hard to put an exact figure on that. It will depend on a wide variety of factors which are different for every individual business.
For more information about how we can help you with ERP software selection or implementation, please call us on 0843 523 5630 or send us an email to [email protected]