Selecting an ERP solution

An ERP solution is not something that organisations take lightly, one could even compare that the ERP Solution and Vendor choice is like a marriage.  So you need to all get along to avoid a difficult and costly separation or even divorce.

The evaluation process is totally down to you and not the vendor as let’s face facts any vendor will say yes to the proposal of marriage.  To help you manage this evaluation process, thus future proofing your ERP marriage we have devised three areas that can be used to aid you:

  • One: Trends to watch out for in the systems you are reviewing
  • Two: Checklist for selecting an ERP System in 8 Simple Steps
  • Three: Typical ERP functionality/modules

 

One 

ERP trends – these are on top of the assumed functionality within an ERP solution.

Know the trends & what to expect from an ERP SolutionCollaborative ERP - True Collaboration
Inbuilt tools for instant messaging (driven by users and ERP data)Does the ERP solution have a User Group or Forum for additional support
Messages and notifications directly driven by ERP activityExtend the collaborative platform beyond ERP users & even into the supply chain
Promotes input & contributionMobile Apps for Windows/Android/Apple
Intuitive Apps available for all devicesApps built to work seamlessly with ERP Solution e.g. Epicor
Time/Expense/Sales/Service ManagementERP Access Anywhere
Dynamic screen resolution functionsUse on PC’s, lap tops, tablets or even smart phones
ERP via Desktop Productivity ToolsUse from MS Office e.g. Epicor and view data from Outlook, Word & Email
Carry that data with you when offline for remote accessCreate and modify ERP data from within MS Office

 

Two 

Selecting an ERP system is a long-term strategic decision for your organisation.  So whether you are thinking about a new ERP system or replacing an existing one, we have identified 8 simple steps that will help with your selection.

 

Step 1: Evaluation

Create an evaluating committee or project team that includes top management, functional experts and end users from the different departments. This helps with buy in from the team from day one of your selection process.  Consider the need for external consultants to help your organisation make the correct evaluation of the various ERP solutions.  Gain acceptance or not throughout the whole selection process.

Step 2: Make An Assessment

Complete an assessment of your existing business systems, processes, scale of operation and skill set amongst the organisation.  This will determine what is being completed well and what will need to be improved through the new ERP system.  You should end up with a list of gaps and challenges that will be resolved through the new ERP system.

Step 3: Establish Criteria

Create selection criteria which will be used to evaluate the available solutions (also remove unsuitable solutions).  Criteria should include; features, price, and platform at a start, remember to involve the full evaluation committee.  You next step within establishing the criteria is to rank them based on important down to nice to have, maybe assign a score.   Some example criteria:

Industry Expertise. How well does the ERP vendor understand your industry? Does the vendor offer industry best practices or pre-defined processes that are generalized or horizontally focused? ERP solutions should at the very least address your mission critical business requirements specific to your industry.

Total Cost of Ownership. Determine the long-term TCO for hardware, software, and support—pre and post implementation.

Multi-Site Operations Support. If you need to collaborate with multiple operations then ensure your ERP vendor can support multi-site operations. Can your ERP vendor support all your locations with a small centralized IT staff? Do they require complicated architectures?

Customer Support. Does the ERP vendor have its own in-house support or does it outsource? You’ll gain the most out of your investment if you have access to a customer care center that can answer your key application and technical questions, solve your complex technical or software related issues, and advise on best industry practices.

Step 4: Schedule Consultations

Arrange discovery calls or meetings with the identified ERP systems representatives ensuring that you have sales and product specialist within the discovery process.  This discovery call/meeting will provide you with better insight on the vendor and the ERP solution.  Brochures are great but meeting a vendor face to face is imperative as the ERP solution you put in place will be a long term relationship so start the engagements as you mean to go on.

Step 5: Create a Long – Medium – Short list

Create a long list which normally contains 5 ERP Solutions after the discovery call/meeting.  Further engagements will then create the medium list of 3 ERP solutions.  When you only have two ERP solutions on a list you have not created a short list and the real selection process starts to take place.   This process will remove the ERP solutions that are a poor fit to you business needs and requirements.

Step 6: Make Contact

Contact vendors and make arrangements for further product demos to create a further qualified short list.

Step 7: Prepare Questions That Address Your Concerns

Prepare questions that will help the vendor address your concerns – ranking them on their ability to remove your concerns.

Step 8: Check Vendor References

Visit and consult companies where the ERP system has been implemented. Find out if the system is working as expected, and what the company likes or dislikes. If there were issues, then determine how the vendor resolved them.

Conclusion: Congratulations your evaluating team are now able to select an ERP solution of their choice based on your selection criteria and business needs/requirements.   Your ERP project will start by you working with your vendor of choice to create the project plan. 

 

Three 

When an ERP system is being applied within the functions certain KPI’s such as;

  • Efficiency – Removal of manual and time consuming tasks
  • Real Time Reporting – Business decisions are enabled with real time reporting resulting in “Better Business Decisions”
  • Mobility – Conduct your business anywhere
  • Improved Customer Service – streamlined process improve customer time lines
  • Responsiveness – business should have the ability to change with the moving global markets
  • Improved Data Security – better user permission settings keeping all sensitive information protected

 

Type of modules you should be looking for within your ERP Solution are listed below:

Financial ManagementProduction Management MRPProduct Data Management
Planning & SchedulingShop Floor OperativesSupply Chain Management
Project ManagementService ManagementGovernance, Risk & Compliance
Global Business ManagementHuman Resource Management (HRM)Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Business Intelligence (BI)Executive DashboardsReal Time Reporting

 

To learn more about ERP Solutions & Aspera Solutions 

Call us on +353 (0)1 461 1700 / +44 (0)845 862 0864 or Contact us