Things to Consider When Vetting ERP Software

Are your sales forecasts based on facts and data or on guesswork and gut feelings? Do you have a clear answer to how much inventory is currently in your warehouse at this very moment? Does everyone in your organization have access to customer data to provide top-notch service and identify opportunities to better serve them? Are you manually entering customers and orders into different systems? Can your financial people easily run reports when requested to do so or is it a frustrating experience for all involved?

Having enterprise resource planning (ERP) software puts an end to fragmented systems by bringing all the components of business together into one platform. It provides data visibility across the whole organization, allows for more automation, and improves processes while doing all of the above at a lower overall cost to the organization.

When contemplating any change to technology in an organization, especially one requiring a substantial investment of resources such as a new ERP system, there must be a clearly defined tangible benefit for improving a company’s competitive performance.

Staying focused on the desired business results you want is imperative to meet your goals and to achieve an acceptable return on investment. Some best practices in system selection and transition to an ERP system include:

  • Document current performance measures
  • Document current technology costs
  • Make the business process requirements the foundation for your system requirements
  • Define and prioritize what decision criteria you will use to determine the information you gather on each ERP solution
  • Establish internal consensus on process and system priorities
  • Do your homework – be inquisitive and validate what you learn by checking with people who currently use the product

Traditionally, the two options for ERP software were on-premise and cloud-based solutions. With on-premise solutions becoming out of date, cloud-based solutions have become the go-to solution. That being said, there are now two types of cloud-based systems to be aware of: dedicated and multi-tenant. Dedicated systems can typically be seen as a “fake” cloud solution. They are web-based and for that reason are considered part of the cloud, but their version-locked support, varying releases and updates make it difficult for the provider to invest in improvements and provide consistent support.

Multi-tenant solutions are seen as “true” cloud-based systems. They are single version and subscription-based which means much of the overall cost is spread across the subscribers, creating a reduced individual price. By having a single version model, the provider’s focus is on improving features and providing consistent support for all users. Now that you know the difference, it’s important to ask the right questions to a potential software provider to confirm you are getting the solution that best fits your business.

When weighing options with a cloud-based ERP software provider, there are some key questions you should cover:

  • What are the costs incurred in moving a current ERP into the cloud?
  • How will cloud services affect the internal IT team?
  • How does a cloud ERP solution improve the ability to scale?
  • Will my data be more secure in the cloud?
  • Will the cloud ERP work with cloud-based Office and Outlook products?
  • What if our Internet connection goes down?
  • What support services should I expect to receive as part of an ERP subscription?

As with any investment of business resources, doing proper research and investing time on the front end of the decision-making process will yield a better final decision. If you have more questions regarding if a cloud-based ERP solution like NetSuite is right for your business, our team at BerganKDV can help. Contact us or watch this webinar to learn more about NetSuite’s vast capabilities.

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