Selecting the right ERP solution for your business can be daunting. With so many options available, how do you decide which functionalities you actually need and which would be nice to have? If you are suffering from analysis paralysis, Nessium Consulting is here to help.
“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” – Albert Einstein
The fundamental question you need to ask when selecting an ERP solution is: Will the software be capable of satisfying my business needs? To evaluate that, you must first discover what your business needs actually are.
Enterprise Resource Planning solutions are designed to solve business problems. For example, your Senior Management is not able to access all your business intelligence at a glance, slowing down or limiting the decision-making process. Or, your financial activities are not consolidated in one platform, draining your team’s productivity and even risking non-compliance if your business operates in multiple locations with different tax laws. Additionally, you need to consider how much it will take to maintain and implement your new ERP solution.
Build an ERP Selection Team
To find out what the business problems you are trying to solve are, talk to your team. They know your company’s pain points better than anyone. Find a key stakeholder in each department that will be impacted by your ERP solution (HR, Accounting, Senior Management, etc). They can tell you about documentation problems, legal limitations, supply chain issues, or the need for mobile integration.
So who should be included in your ERP selection team? Aside from key stakeholders, make sure you include in your team:
- A project manager, who will be responsible for accomplishing the ERP project on-time and on-budget.
- An IT specialist, who knows the technical details of your company’s operations
- An executive sponsor, who represents the C-level suite
- A team of ERP consultants, who will provide expert and unbiased advice
- A spokesperson, who will act as a single point of contact for the ERP project
Hire a Team of Expert ERP Consultants
“The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein
An ERP consultant with 2 years of experience, even if certified, is simply not an expert. There are things that experience teaches you that books can’t, from best practices to avoiding costly mistakes. ERP consultants can help ensure your project goes smoothly, offering expert advice and anticipating issues before they become problems. This can make the difference in making sure the project gets delivered on-time and on-budget (and everyone in your company gets to keep their job).
Plus, your ERP consultants will be able to differentiate sales talk from actual value. They will know which questions to ask to get important details for your requirement gathering. They will provide an unbiased third-party when dealing with different vendors and different interests within your company. Selecting the right ERP solution for your company is such a critical project, you can’t afford to do it without the best advice you can get.
Look for ERP specialists who are familiar with different types of ERP solutions and different methodologies. You will need to build a team of functional and technical consultants for best results, since each consultant specializes in different areas. Versatility and experience can increase the hourly rate of each consultant. But the cost of not getting it done right the first time will greatly outweigh the investment in expertise.
Gather Detailed ERP Requirements
Ask the right questions. Make sure you listen for important details that will make the selection process easier. For example, it’s different to say “I need an ERP solution that can take a customer order” (all ERP solutions do that), than “Our ERP solution will need to be able to take a customer order in any currency over the internet” (some don’t). During the sales process, every ERP solution will sound great. The key to selecting the right ERP solution for your business is knowing when a great-sounding solution won’t be the right fit for your specific business needs.
Plan for the Future
Technology moves at the speed of now. An ERP solution might offer an attractive pricing structure, but will it be able to keep up with advances in future technologies? What will be the cost of upgrading, or even switching over to a different system if the one you select ends up being obsolete? Is the solution agile and scalable to keep up with your growth goals? Is it cloud-based?
Consider how your ERP solution will be able to integrate emerging technologies such as chatbots, machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, blockchain, and more.
These are all things your ERP Consultant can help you evaluate. If you want to learn more about choosing the right ERP solution for your organization, visit our website www.nessiumconsulting.com or book a free consultation on our calendar!