After the decision to adopt an ERP solution is made, the most critical process is how to select an ERP from the plethora of options available in the market. This process is vital as the right ERP can be a source of significant business leverage whereas the wrong one will only add to your problems and business woes.
Following are the key steps that www.softwareadvice.com recommends that must be part of your selection process:
- First you need to understand the bare minimum capability that you want this solution to have. You would need to involve the leadership and key stakeholders in all the processes that are involved. You must be able to identify the problems that it must eliminate and your budget for the same keeping in mind your financial resources. You must also define by when the system should be implemented to be feasible for you. Create a comprehensive selection criterion to evaluate the solutions.
- It is important to do thorough secondary research of the ERP market for options that are relevant for your needs. You need to understand the technologies, deployment models and the functionalities that are offered by vendors. You also need to understand cost burdens, implementation times, accessibility models that are part of the solution deployment.
- If need be, you may present your case to the management for approval. For an approval by them a detailed cost and benefit based on ROI would be required. The presentation should be comprehensive and take into account all factors like software licenses, service, training and the changeover costs. This stage may precede the secondary research stage or follow it based on the organizational model.
- Next we need to create a shortlist of software products that match our requirements. Start with a long list of products and then eliminate solutions that don’t meet the criteria, size of business or functionality requirements. Next, request pricing estimates or quotes to eliminate systems beyond your budget. Once you have a short list, engage those software vendors in the sales process. This shortlist should be based on affordability, functionality, features, relevance to business vertical, compliance fit, customer feedback and ratings from secondary research, technology fit, deployment model, accessibility needs, customer support and the ease of implementation.
- As you interact with the shortlisted vendors, state your requirements upfront and ask for referral customers in a similar business domain/vertical. Ask them for live demonstrations of their products that address your needs. As for marketing collateral on their solution that you can understand the solution better. You must educate the sales personnel of the vendor about how you will evaluate the product, your key requirements from it, your expectations from them, and the selection process and by when you expect to make your buying decision. This will help them in presenting the relevant features and benefits of their solution to you in better manner for a possible match.
- It is important to evaluate the live demonstration properly providing each vendor with a few “demo scripts” to detail specific workflows that you want to see in the demo. This is essential to be in control of the demo process. Be sure to include the right stakeholders in the relevant processes from your organization in the demo. During the demo, keep track of your impressions and compare notes with colleagues afterwards.
- After going through the live demos, your team of cross functional decision makers & leaders should score and rank the solutions based on your selection criteria. Separate the criteria into ‘essential’ and ‘nice to have’. To make up your mind, ask for deep-dive demos from them to understand the solutions better.
- Gather and compare price quotes that include license fees, subscriptions, maintenance costs, customization/support/training and all other hidden costs associated with the purchase and operation of the solution. You may want to add features and functionality provided in the comparison with customer feedback and expert ratings. It might be a good idea to examine the intellectual capital and relevant experience behind the product design. It is good to consider the quality of security standards followed and the infrastructure and environment backing the solution.
- You should now ask the vendor for referrals that must be approached in a detailed manner to understand the quality and delivery of the solution and the customer experience of dealing with them. You could ask the vendor for providing reports and details of their financial and strategic viability for the future.
- Review the agreement and negotiate in the best manner possible for win-win terms & conditions. Ask for liability clauses if the vendor does not perform their part, the unstated & implied responsibilities, the pricing validity, support guarantees & assurance for service.
If the solution ticks all the relevant boxes, it may be time to make a decision and sign on the dotted line.
The cloud takes ERP to a whole new level with the ability to do business anytime, anywhere, and from any device with internet access. The data and solutions are parked on secure servers in remote locations from the client who accesses it through the internet via a web browser.
The cloud is already the preferred choice for ERP solutions due to its affordability, easy & anytime/anywhere access, lower financial & investment entry barriers as well as minimal set up times.
We at VersAccounts have created a secure cloud based one stop comprehensive ERP solution. It has been catered to take care of all the business needs and concerns for operating your business effectively. It addresses key issues of the small business domain in the most effective manner possible. It is affordable and targeted towards SMB’s and is backed by a promise of dedicated support. It is being used by clients in diverse verticals and could help you redefine the way you operate and grow your business.
Our solution is designed for fast growing businesses, between $1-$50M in annual revenue, looking to upgrade business management solutions like entry-level accounting products or mid-tier legacy on-premise ERP systems or even those looking at comprehensive and affordable ERP solutions. Our solution is built to be capable, affordable and easy to use by small and mid-sized businesses.
With the VersAccounts ERP solution, you can integrate project management, inventory management, multi-entity accounting, purchasing & order management, distribution, production, customer relationship management, and e-commerce functionalities into one solution with easy integration across your business functions. There are customization options with easy migration from and compatibility with respect to other systems preexisting or in the business environment.
Built from the ground up on the latest cloud and mobile technology, the VersAccounts Cloud ERP system allows businesses to automate and optimize their operations across multiple companies, countries, and currencies with one integrated ERP system.
To know more, please visit www.versaccounts.com or contact us directly.
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Reference and further reading: Software Advice’s best practices guide- Ten steps to selecting the right ERP software