A good enterprise resource planning (ERP) system should have an impact on every single part of your business. These highly sought after enterprise applications help manage activities including planning, research and development, purchasing, supply chain management, sales, and marketing. There are countless ERP software solutions available, so it’s crucial that you make the right ERP choice that fits your organization. But do you know what the ERP selection process looks like?
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Don’t worry if you’re not familiar! That’s the very reason we built this ultra-comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to select an ERP system. Packed with tips and recommendations, you can use this article as part of your ERP software evaluation checklist
What is ERP Software?
First, let’s straighten out the basics. ERP software is a suite of integrated applications that automates and streamlines key business processes. It serves as a centralized data repository and provides workflow automation and real-time insights. ERP software also comes with capabilities for ensuring compliance with industry and regulatory standards, improving customer service and analyzing the financial health of your organization.
For the sake of keeping things brief, we’re going to move onto the ERP selection process now. However, if you’d like to keep learning and what ERP is, we have that information for you here.
What is ERP Software Selection?
To provide some additional introductory information, we’re going to walk you through what an ERP software selection is like. This easy-to-follow, four-stage process helps you determine your business needs, evaluate and compare solutions, validate your technical requirements, and negotiate a great contract.
1. Requirements and Research
You can think of your list of requirements as an ERP selection criteria checklist. Requirements are what your business needs from a software solution. This will help you decide whether an ERP system is the right fit for your business.
When evaluating business requirements, keep in mind that ERP software’s greatest advantages lie in comprehensive data analysis, thorough and accurate reporting functions and multiple process automation capabilities. We go into depth with this topic in our ERP requirements list, but here’s the reader’s digest version of questions to ask yourself:
- Evaluate your current business operations and how ERP software can fit into them. For example, do you need a responsive solution to accommodate your employees using mobile devices? What are the reporting and metrics that will be most useful to you when running your business?
- Consult with senior-level executives who can engage and encourage employees in the process of implementation. If possible, appoint a team to oversee the process of selection and installation, including an executive and a project manager.
- Take honest stock of the ways your business could and should change. Determine the ways ERP capabilities can transform your operations and improve business performance.
Armed with your specific business requirements, you can now perform preliminary research to identify which ERP system meets your needs. You can do most of this research online, but you can also contact ERP vendors and seek informed opinions from colleagues who use ERP software systems. Consider ERP consultants as potential resources to find the right fit for your business.
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