As your business grows, so too does your need for a solid business management solution. Enter the ERP: enterprise resource planning, or a collection of integrated business applications that can help you gain greater visibility into the inner workings of your business.
There are a number of options out there, and as you consider and weigh those options, many may begin to sound the same. If you’re in the market for an ERP solution for your business, our checklist can help you determine which ERP is right for your business:
- Look for an ERP system that delivers a complete, unified vision of your business. One of the easiest ways to improve reporting and enhance your business’s productivity is to choose an ERP system that integrates business intelligence, collaboration, communication, workflow and customer relationship management across all of your core business processes. To learn more about the benefits of system integration, see how Ascend Integrated Media benefited from a comprehensive ERP and CRM system.
- Pick an ERP with cloud options. Not all ERP systems will let you take advantage of cloud computing, and with so many small and midsized businesses taking the leap to the cloud, you want to be sure your business has options. Even if you’re not sure about the cloud right now, keep in mind that ERP in the cloud means lower startup costs, no hardware investments, month-to-month contracts, flexible user numbers and support/software management from a dedicated team.
- Consider the available deployment assistance and support options. Nothing in business or technology is static—be sure you select an ERP provider with options for your deployment (from full support to consultative advice), and double check that your provider will be available to support your business when you need them. We recommend picking a provider that offers 24x7x365 support.
- Don’t forget to ask about add ons. Whether your business already uses other line-of-business applications or is looking for applications that are custom-designed for your industry, select an ERP system that is capable of integrating with industry or workflow specific applications. If you’re looking for examples, see the ones we offer here.
- Ask to preview the user experience. If you have ever used a website or product with a poor user experience, you know how important this is. A good business management solution will be easy for you and your employees to understand and use, and ultimately, you’ll save time and money on training costs. Better yet, ask for a 30 day free trial.
- Consider the value of predictable costs. A carefully considered business management solution will provide you with options for achieving cost predictability through stable, use-based subscription rates. This is especially true of ERP in the cloud, where you will always know what your IT costs will be—no need to figure in energy rates, IT salaries or service calls.
- Look for an ERP provider with an eye for upgrades. What works for your business today may not work for your business in two or three years. In order to keep your ERP current with your business practices, select both a product and a provider committed to making upgrades to the solutions you leverage. Bonus points if the upgrade costs are included in your monthly price.
- Take risk management into account. Owning a business is, well, risky business. From unexpected events to managing budgets, beating out competitors and handling disruptive new technologies, any number of complications could create serious issues for your business. As you select an ERP solution, look for one that is established and reliable, offers assistance in managing all areas of your business, and has options for data recovery in the event of disaster.