With so many choices available, evaluating enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for your business may seem like a difficult process. However, as long as you have a good idea of what your company is doing well, and what its needs are in terms of this type of software, you should be able to perform a reasonable evaluation and make an adequate selection.
Here is a list of some of the most helpful criteria that you should take into consideration when evaluating how well ERP software would fit with your company and how to select an ERP vendor:
- Size and structure of your company: You must take into account the size and structure of your business whenever you evaluate ERP software for your business. Small and large businesses have much different needs; if you run the business all by yourself, for example, you do not need to worry about payroll features. If you do not sell any products, you will likely not need inventory features. Not every ERP software is made with every kind of business in mind, so this should be at the forefront of your mind as you do your research.
- Total cost of ownership: One of the primary factors business owners will look at is the initial price of purchasing the software. Total cost of ownership, however, takes a number of other factors into account. You must consider additional costs such as implementing the software, training people in how to use the software, updates you will have to make to hardware or software patches down the line, costs of customizing the software for your business and costs of getting support. You should be able to project these costs over five years.
- Security: You should consider the level of security your ERP software has, as you will likely be storing highly sensitive and confidential data in it.
- Training: How much training will be necessary for your employees to use the system? How many users will need to be trained? Consider factors such as turnover and time it takes for new team members to get up to speed on using the software, as well as costs associated with training.
- Support: ERP software support can come from a variety of different sources, including directly from the vendor, from a third-party support company or from the vendor’s developer. You should have a sense of how this support will be delivered, if there is an added cost for that support and the quality of support you will receive.
- Implementation: Implementing a new ERP software, especially if you have not previously used one at your business, can take a fair amount of time and patience, and it must be performed by experienced technicians. You will want to consider if the vendor will provide any assistance with software implementation, and if they are willing to make your company a priority throughout the process. This should be an important consideration if you do not have expertise in implementing this type of software yourself.
- Your operating system and/or server: Some types of software might require to you to use specific operating systems or servers. You should carefully consider how this decision could add extra challenges to the implementation and training process. There’s a chance that not only would you have to train people in how to use a complicated new software, but you may also have to provide training to your employees on how to use an operating system they are unfamiliar with.
Sage’s Take On ERP
The following Sage ERP video does a great job of explaining ERP, its functions, the benefits, and the various ERP modules that are available. Disclaimer: We have a bias towards Sage ERP Software (for good reason), and more than happy to explain the rationale. Regardless of our software vendor affinity, the modules depicted in this video are typically available across the various ERP vendor systems.
Once you have fully evaluated each of your potential software choices for your business, arrange to speak with each of the vendors to learn more about them and their capabilities. This will make it easier for you to narrow down your top two or three solutions, see if you can schedule demonstrations, and ultimately receive proposals and make your decision.
Taking your time to research and evaluate ERP software for your business will ensure you will be able to streamline your business processes, allowing you to save money in the long run. Contact us at MicroSys Inc. today for more tips about choosing the right ERP software for your company.