7 Things to Look for When Choosing an ERP System
A business only runs as well as its flow of information. Complete, reliable and fast information from finance, production, purchases—data from all points in the company facilitates the proper functioning of your business. An ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning application, serves as a system for optimal data flow. Because of the documented benefits to business operations, ERPs have become the main set of IT tools in the business world.
Choosing your next ERP system can be a complicated proposition, seeing as no two ERP solutions are the same. And you want to make sure that features which look good on paper also works for you in real life. In this blog post, we discuss what to look for when selecting your next ERP system to make sure it’s aligned with your business needs.
Easy to learn
Let’s start with some numbers: if you modernize your ERP system you can decrease operating costs by 20% to 30%. However, you only take advantage of this benefit if your employees actually use your ERP. Therefore, your ERP system must be easy to learn and easy to use. The interface must be simple enough to be intuitive and require a low learning curve for the end users.
If you have a choice between patching together disparate solutions and implementing a wholly integrated system, it’s wiser to choose the latter. While it’s possible to make different solutions to work together, it’s more likely that a system, like Microsoft Dynamics 365, naturally integrates with solutions developed by the same vendor. For example, Microsoft Excel naturally integrates with Dynamics 365, as well as PowerBI, Microsoft Flow, PowerPoint… you get the picture.
Clumsy integration leads to finding workarounds that slow down your business processes. This results in unnecessary excel spreadsheets, downloading data then uploading the same data to a different part of the system. These kinds of workarounds are subject to more incidents of human error, therefore inaccurate data. Workarounds also results in spending more time on a task that would have been quick and simple if your system was seamlessly integrated.
Facilitates your most important business processes
Documenting and cataloging business processes is a crucial step before implementation. ERP systems should enable your work teams’ tasks, not hinder them. It’s easy to be dazzled by a long list of features, bells and whistles with the perspective of: more is better. That can be the case, but a smarter approach is to focus on the actual business process that you need your technology to support. This leads us to our next point…
Enables you to scale up and scale down
HSO offers optional modules that are designed to integrate into Dynamics 365. The advantage of having separate, but well fitted modules is the ability to scale up your system when you need to. The option to scale up allows your to dip your toe into a new system and gradually add features as your company grows.
An ERP that is hosted on the cloud also offers the opportunity to scale up or down. In fact, 61% of businesses reap the benefits from greater scalability from the cloud. In simple terms, a cloud based system can accommodate an increased volume of data. When you have less data that you need to store, you only use—and pay—for the current amount of data storage that you need..
Generates relevant reporting
The point of collecting data in an ERP is to give you visibility into all aspects of your business. Historic data offers insight into trends, uncovers factors and provides an opportunity to find ways to optimize your business processes. Find a reporting tool that easily generates reports that are simple to read from the data that is relevant to you.
Leverages disruptive technologies
Being forward focused means you trust that an ERP that can meet your needs now and in the future. Your competitive edge depends on taking advantage of state of the art technologies. Disruptive technologies such as using mobile devices to capture data in remote locations, machine learning, Internet of Things, and automation are examples of cutting-edge technology that can position your company in front of the pack within your industry. Choose a vendor and ERP implementer that proves innovation is in their DNA and makes those innovations accessible to your company.
You may need more benefits than is offered from an out of the box solution. A tailored ERP can help you address the unique pain points in your industry and to your company. After all, the challenges a manufacturer faces are different from a down stream oil and gas operation. A public sector organization has different needs than a private logistics company. Look for ERP system and ERP implementers who have experience in your industry.
Read more about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 fits your business needs. Or flip through our presentation deck, Running Your Business in the Microsoft Cloud —An introduction to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations.