One legend says that Julius Ceasar was the best in multitasking. He could dictate several letters at once even while reading and writing. If Ceaser had lived today, would he have coped with eCommerce multitasking? Would he have coped with accounting, shipping, customer relation management, inventory, product and purchase planning, supply chain management and other business processes? I guess even Julius Ceaser wouldn’t have managed all this stuff.
Fortunately, we have a tool that helps every business to outperform the Roman emperor – Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP). ERP solutions automate your every single business process, save times, reduce costs and increase revenue.
- Costs Reduction. You don’t have to spend big sums of money on numerous systems as ERP controls every aspect of your business starting from inventory and shipping to supply chain management and accounting.
- Visibility and Forecasting. You can monitor unreceived and in-transit consignments to develop a solid marketing and business strategy. Control your capital on a more precise level, make decisions quickly and be confident that you see the full business picture at any moment.
- Enhanced Reporting. No more spreadsheets and paperwork, only real-time analytics. Moreover, lots of ERP systems have built-in financial reporting. It includes income and cash flow statements.
- Flexibility. Customize your ERP solution the way you like to meet your business needs. It’s like a big LEGO. Add necessary bricks or discard unnecessary ones.
- Data Security. Only you decide who can access, see and edit your data. Cloud-based solutions provide you with extra security levels and 24/7 security support.
How To Choose The Right ERP Solution?
Choosing an ERP system that will suit your business needs and specifics is a hard nut to crack. Moreover, it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Make it as careful as possible. We’ve made a list of ERP selection criteria that will help you to do the right thing.
You need a written list of features that you think will benefit you the most. You have to do real research to develop a comprehensive list of business requirements. As ERP solution work across many departments, you should consult everyone who will be in contact with it.
Talk to your purchasing and sales managers, customers, suppliers, production workers and etc. Write down all the thoughts and have a meeting. Then, you have to discuss which requirements are “must-have” and which are “nice to have”. This list will help you to evaluate potential ERP solutions.
What is the difference between functional and business requirements? Let’s look at some examples. You entered the international market and work in numerous countries. Does your potential ERP solution have solid accounting components such as multiple сurrencies or the ability to manage taxes in those countries?
What products do you sell? Are they physical, services or both? If that what you sell, your potential ERP should support sales orders that include these products.
Functional requirements must be satisfied even before you create and update your business requirements.
You’re already using some systems for certain purposes. If they work well, there’s no sense in changing them. You’re not interested in an ERP solution that is unable to integrate with these systems successfully. Otherwise, with all the benefits you’ll get unnecessary costs and problems in your departments. Your ERP must easily read and use the existing data in other systems.
You’re more likely to find a solution that will easily integrate your platform without any problems. Don’t worry if you face some system integration issues. Someone could have faced this problem before. It means that the solution is already designed.
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How much money are you ready to spend on ERP implementation? On average you will spend 7.200$ on each user of your ERP system. It’s a big sum and it should remind you that ERP selection is a long-time process. On average, companies spend 22 weeks to select the right system.
Moreover, you’ll spend money on technical support, staff education, server and system updates. It’s inevitable to have support and maintenance costs each year. Nevertheless, despite all these expenditures, you’ll see additional revenue soon. Your ERP solution will serve you at least for a decade and will open new opportunities for your business. You’ll be able to provide services and products that were impossible without an ERP.
You need to calculate your return on investment by spreading all these costs and benefits over time. Ensure that your potential ERP passes your business ROI threshold.
On-premise server ERP is not the only option today. Many businesses run cloud ERP solutions using a SaaS framework. In this way, initial investments are lower due to monthly “rental” payments. They include the most support and software needs. There is also a hybrid option when you own an ERP but run it on a cloud shared server.
Today lots of ERP systems are open-source. You can acquire it for free or at a low price. The open-source code gives you the power of customizations. You can customize it in your own way to meet your business needs. One more benefit of open-source ERPs is “community”. People find and fix numerous bugs when they update their ERP solutions. You don’t need to wait for new revisions as all the improvements are available for all users.
Only you decide which of these options will suit your business most.
No one is perfect, that’s why customization options can be a solid ERP selection criterion. Talk to your team and decide whether you need any customizations and is it truly worthy. Ask yourself a question: “Do we have any unique business components among other businesses? ”. If you can work around these features using an existing ERP, the customization criterion becomes unimportant.
On the other hand, if there’s no way to do without any customizations, look at the ERP solution keeping an eye toward the ease and efficiency of potential customizations. In this case, you need a developing company or your own skilled developers. If you will customize your ERP with the help of low-skilled developers there’s a 100% chance that they will disrupt the work of the other ERP components.
If you have any questions on ERP implementation and future support, contact us and we’ll help you to make the right choice.
About the author:
E-commerce Journalist at Mobecls
2+ years experience
Feel free to ask me anything about this post in the comments below