Deciding whether you are ready to bring an ERP solution on board is one thing, selecting which ERP is suitable is another process to overcome. Beneficial or not to your decision-making process, there are many different ERP solutions on the market, each with its distinct features. To know which ERP solution fits you best, you could use the following criteria to help you decide.
1) Check, check, double check!
Ideally your ERP solution must fit all your requirements and needs to fully support your growing business. Having a complete checklist of all features and requirements you are looking for in an ERP solution will simplify your decision and possibly eliminate a few solutions right off the bat. To make such a list there are some questions you could ask yourself, such as:
- What are our challenges?
- What department needs the most investment or streamlining?
- What functionalities are we looking for?
- What is the timeline and budget for our project?
- What processes are current bottleneck, and do we want to automate?
2) Functionalities that fit your business
When evaluating each solution, you must assess all functionalities in detail, preferably the functionalities you require and have noted on your checklist. Ideally, you should look for functionalities that are well-developed features that answer directly to your needs. The most important part is that you look out for a fully integrated end-to-end solution that considers all your departments and their needs, operating company-wide from finance to inventory and everything in between. A well-rounded solution also allows for customisation, answering to the most detailed and industry-specific needs.
It may help to again conduct a detailed list of features and requirements for your future ERP solution, that prioritises key features and customisation desires.
3) User-friendliness and smooth management skills
Having an ERP solution that optimises and streamlines as many processes as possible is just the beginning. Moreover, your solution is only as effective as it’s user-friendliness. Because after all, it’s your team that must operate the intricate software, which can be quite the change and challenge. If your team has difficulty using the solution or it just isn’t intuitive enough, this could be the bottle to your implementation’s success. But when a solution shows to be intuitive and easy to use with little to no training, it significantly simplifies your change management process. in addition, it's important when looking for an ERP vendor that their ability to handle, manage and convey change management into your organisation is on point.
4) Future proof
Implementing an ERP solution is an investment-intensive procedure. Therefore, it would be best if your investment is worth it, even still in the future. An ERP solution that is cloud-based leaves room to grow and is less of an investment whereas you don’t need on-premises staff and infrastructure. A cloud solution offers the ability to be accessible wherever and whenever you need access to your solution, plus leaves you the mobility and capacity for future expansion.
That said, scalability is another criteria worth looking into when selecting the perfect ERP solution for your company. It’s best to not only consider whether its functionalities fit your needs, but also if the solution as a whole, fits with your organisation’s long-term strategy which could include global expansion, new markets, merges and more.
5) Seamless integration
You might already have some software programs or packages you are depending on. Making sure your new ERP blends perfectly with your existing operations and software is another must-have criteria. It not only minimises change management issues as some current programs will be left untouched, but also simplifies the data transfer to the end-to-end platform.
6) Industry-specific ERP
Finding the right ERP vendor can be quite a task, as not every vendor might understand your industry-specific needs. Therefore, having a vendor that has experience in, for example, the food and beverage industry is always a plus. They might already have trial and error knowledge from previous cases to simplify your process. But not only the vendor should be aware of your industry, there might even be ERP solutions that are specifically built for your type of company and way of working. Such an ERP will save you plenty of customisations as it’s possibly already fine-tuned to your industry-specific requirements.
7) Partners in crime
You and your ERP vendor should operate as a team, during the project but also well after the implementation whereas digital transformation is a dynamic process, that impacts many facets of your organisation. But when done well, it surely means success. The "done-well" part depends on your employees but also on the experienced consultants that will pull your team through the entire process. Make sure before selecting your fitting solution and vendor to clarify your expectations to them and vice versa so you prevent any misunderstandings.
8) An investment with return
Implementing ERP isn’t cheap but might be highly necessary. It’s important to know exactly how much your implementation will cost beforehand, so you can find a budget that suits you and won’t eat away all the funds of your organisation before its return on investment can kick in. Specifically, when looking at the cost of ERP solutions there are two key indicators to keep in mind. Of course, your Return On Investment (ROI), but also your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO[JN1] ), which consists of all expenses, that will/can occur during your ERP system’s lifecycle. After weighing all costs against the return, you can rationally decide whether it’s the right time for implementing ERP and how much budget you can spend.
9) Safety first
An ERP solution’s core exitance revolves around data. But considering if that data is safe is a criteria you shouldn’t skip. In general cloud-solutions offer the highest level of security, that is compliant with worldwide governance. In a cloud-based solution your data is not only safe but also secure, with automated back-ups to make sure your data never gets lost or can be recovered in case of an unforeseen digital disaster.
It's safe to say, there are a lot of criteria to consider when looking for a fitting ERP solution, however when ticking off all the above, you are without a doubt on the road to successful implementation.