Selecting the Best ERP System for Your Business: 9 Considerations for ERP Selection – Part 2
Selecting the best ERP system for your business is a multi step process. ERP success follows those that take the time to do their homework upfront. Time should be spent educating yourself and your team, researching systems and talking to others about their experience with both their ERP solution and their implementation partner.
Recommendations are valuable, but a product that is well suited for one company based on thier isn’t necessarily the best fit for your business.
This blog is part two of a three part blog series designed to help you identify the best ERP solution for your business based on the following discussion points:
- How Much of an ERP System Do You Need?
- Business Goals and Objectives
- ERP Cloud or On-Premises or Hybrid Deployment
- ERP Budget
- ERP Annual Cost
- ERP Technology Platforms
- ERP Customizations
- ERP Support and Training
- ERP Ease of Upgrades
In the first blog we talked about matching your short and long term goals and objectives to a system that’s neither too big nor too small with consideration of your needs today and tomorrow. The better you understand todays’ requirements and where your business is heading in the next five years, the better you will be able to identify an ERP solution that will reward you with the greatest the ROI.
The first blog also talked about cloud, on-premises and hybrid solutions. This blog continues the discussion by taking a look at the components of an ERP budget, annual costs and ERP technology platforms.
4. ERP Budget
Worried about the expense of an ERP system? With so many ERP choices on the market, there are solutions for every type of budget. Knowing your budget before you start evaluating ERP systems will save you time during your ERP selection process. Additionally, ERP vendors will be more responsive if they know you have done your homework. Additionally, your conversations will be more focused and productive.
If you have a limited budget with a long wish list, a ‘phased implementation approach’ is worth considering. The phased approach was briefly touched upon in Selecting the Best ERP System for Your Business Part 1 as an option to spread your software and implementation costs out over a period of time. It’s a good approach to rolling out your most critical business requirements first and adding more functionality over time. The phased approach can also be used to roll out additional modules or user licenses over a period of time.
Bonus: Knowing your budget will not only help you to quickly eliminate ERP solutions outside of your budget, but also improve responsiveness from software vendors.
When balancing your budget with your requirements, look for ERP software that will best help you meet your business goals and objectives today while providing the flexibility to grow and change with you tomorrow.
5. ERP Annual Costs
Conversations are often based around implementation costs, but your implementation costs are not the only cost that should be considered. When making an ERP software selection one must also consider the long-term costs of maintaining an ERP system. Annual costs consist of:
- Maintenance – Including hardware and software upgrades if an on-premises implementation
- Monthly Service Fees – If a cloud implementation
- Customizations – Development and upgrade costs
- Training – New employees and refresher courses
In Selecting the Best ERP System for Your Business Part 1 we discussed how cloud acceptance was growing as a deployment option in addition to the traditional on-premises and hybrid ERP solutions.
Cloud solutions offer the lowest upfront costs but one must weigh the break even point of the annual subscription costs. If your cloud option allows you to customize your version, then ask about what happens when your ERP software is updated or upgraded – will custom features be forfeited or move forward with your software? We will talk more about ERP customizations in part 3 of this series.
6. ERP Technology Platforms
Technology matters. Some ERP solutions are based on proprietary technologies while other ERP solutions are based on industry standard technologies. Your technology choice will affect the cost of supporting your system; there are fewer experts for proprietary technologies so they can and therefore will typically charge you more for their services.
Epicor ERP is 100% Microsoft, using Microsoft SQL Server and the latest Microsoft technologies so your ERP system can be easily supported while you take advantage of the most recent technologies to keep your costs down.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog series.
If you need help selecting an ERP solution for your business, or have questions about this post, contact MIS. MIS experts have been helping businesses meet their business goals and objectives with technology since 1987 and we look forward to assisting you too.
Additional Topics of Interest:
To learn more about what to expect from the software selection process and how to stay in control, take a look at: