What to Ask Before You Purchase an ERP System
You understand the value an ERP system can add to your company, but you haven’t yet made the final purchase. We understand – implementation can be a huge undertaking, often requiring significant time and company resources. If you don’t fully evaluate what it will take to install the ERP system beforehand, you could potentially make costly mistakes that you realize only in hindsight.
Here are 4 essential questions to ask before you purchase an ERP system to make the implementation and use of your ERP system cost-effective and efficient.
1.) How Do I Choose The Right Publisher?
Choosing the wrong ERP publisher can create problems instead of solving them. Do your research to determine the correct publisher for your business. Look for publishers that invest in their product, especially in areas such as research and development.
The publisher should also provide support for both the software and the partner implementing the system. With ERP systems being as complicated as they are, it’s imperative to have a publisher that will stand behind their product and help you and your partner walk through any difficulties you may experience.
Reputable publishers will also have partner programs to ensure those representing their product have the best knowledge and skill set possible.
2.) How Do I Choose the Right Partner?
When choosing a partner, you can save 15-20% of total ERP implementation cost by working with a local organization. ERP implementation requires quite a few in-person trainings and hands-on work, so a local company will save you the added and unnecessary expense of travel costs.
The partner company you choose needs a certain level of expertise and knowledge in supply chain, manufacturing, and finance. They should have a proven implementation methodology, certified consultants, engineers, and project managers.
Bonus! Look for a vendor that also has IT services available. An ERP system will require some attention from your IT department, but your IT department may not be familiar enough with the software to be able to assist if a problem occurs. Vendors that bundle IT services and ERP bring a better value to their customers because they are a one-stop shop – they can provide you with the software implementation as well as the proper IT support once it’s installed.
Every vendor is going to say they’re the best, but instead of relying on their word alone, look up testimonials, third-party reviews, feedback from real customers, and other references. Did anyone have any trouble with the software? How did the support system follow up?
Word-of-mouth reviews are also extremely valuable. Ask around at CEO networking events to see what kind of experience fellow business owners had with the vendor.
3.) What Services Are Provided?
Ask your vendor what kind of training and support you can expect from them as they implement your new ERP system. Because the system is so complex and far-reaching, you and all your employees can expect a learning curve in the initial stages.
You should be able to reasonably expect your vendor to offer consultations from the initial start-up all throughout the following months. Most vendors offer support either onsite at your location, remote, or in a classroom setting at their headquarters.
Their goal should be to make sure end-users can confidently use all aspects of the system and make the most out of your investment.
Your vendor should also have the expertise to successfully implement software and provide the proper support for integrations, structure, and the implementation plan. Beyond implementation, your vendor should also provide ongoing training about the ERP system you choose, such as webinars, user groups, articles, and conference calls to help you get the most long-term value out of your ERP system.
4.) What Software Capabilities Should I Be Concerned About?
Fit, ease, and growth.
Whatever software you choose should be built around these three principles. Does the software fit you, the customer, well? Is it easy to use? Will it still function as expected as you and your company grow?
Take a look at the reporting capabilities and metrics available for you: are they easily available and simple to use? Does the software allow for personalization?
ERP systems are also available in different levels, or “packages.” While some companies require basic packages, others need a more sophisticated package in order to maintain compliance with industry-specific or governmental regulations.
Get Started Today
The sooner you implement an ERP system, the sooner you’ll be able to capitalize on the results. If you’re not sure where to begin, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.