ERP Selection Tree

Selecting the right ERP is something you don't do every day. To help you get started with your ERP selection you can find our three tips below.

Outline Specific Benefits Your Company Wants to Realize

ERP projects frequently deliver minimal ERP business benefits. This happens because the project isn’t aligned with the companies strategy. Clearly defined goals help you evaluate software based on its functional fit during your ERP selection.

For example, if your company wants to improve its customer service, one of your ERP requirements might be the ability to automatically order inventory when it reaches a certain level and automatically updates this information for the sales department. With this functionality, the sales department would be able to immediately and efficiently provide customers with a realistic delivery date, consequently improving the customer experience.

It’s essential to find customer relationship management (CRM) functionality that improves the customer experience. If you’re determining what CRM functionality your company needs, you may find our ERP vs. CRM blog post helpful.

Many of the vendors in our report provide ERP software systems with robust reporting capacities that secure data consistency across departments and enable real-time data insights. While scheduling ERP demos, we recommend asking vendors to show their reporting functionality in a test case, practicing your data.

Whatever functional areas you’re hoping to improve, you should define these with the executive team before selection. This preparation is essential for many reasons, one of which is minimizing ERP customization.

Understand ERP Selection Market Lingo

Understanding ERP market lingo is especially essential when you’re talking about buzzwords like artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT because many vendors have their definitions of these terms.

While some vendors may consider AI to be a system that autonomously learns and solves problems, other vendors may consider AI to be an automatic workflow.

It’s essential to understand what a vendor means by AI because the most advanced AI in ERP systems is typically expensive and complicated to integrate fully. Large enterprises with the money and resources to invest in AI may achieve long-term ROI, but smaller companies may not be able to wait this long for a payoff.

For these organizations, integrating a niche application – such as robotic process automation (RPA) technology – with their leading ERP may be a better alternative.

Another niche application example, besides RPA, that many small to mid-sized companies benefit from is specialized cash applications. These applications can automate financial management processes, like the process of receiving a payment from a customer, applying it to the most recent invoice, entering it into the system, and processing checks for validation. These applications are created to learn and improve over time.

For example, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations integrates machine learning and AI into its finance applications giving finance leaders better insight into the business.

While AI is exciting, it’s not right for every company. We recommend only implementing the technology that aligns with our short-and long-term enterprise strategy.

Seek External Guidance and Support

Many organizations face resource constraints when building an ERP project team to assist with ERP selection. There are several ways to address this challenge, depending on your unique situation:

If your company doesn’t have sophisticated internal IT resources, consider hiring external IT resources.

If your company already has enough internal IT resources, focus on backfilling these roles with interim contractors.

If your company has identified an ideal ERP project manager, but he is having trouble balancing his day job with the ERP project, you may want to backfill his previous position. Active ERP project management is essential, and an internal project manager has the intel necessary to make difficult decisions when your team faces difficulties.

If your company lacks ERP selection experience, then hiring an ERP consultant is beneficial. They have lessons learned from implementing ERP systems for companies across a variety of industries.

What Does This Mean for You?

These tips are only a few of the secrets to selecting the right ERP system.

Your company eventually needs to decide what section criteria are most important, then narrow down your options based on these criteria. No matter which methods you’re evaluating, the ERP selection advice in this blog post might help you in finding a solution that supports your organizational goals.

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