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Beginning an enterprise resource planning (ERP) can be an expensive venture in terms of licensing dollars and maintenance, but the return is a well-oiled machine of a business.  What exactly is an ERP?  An ERP is a modular software system designed to integrate the main functional areas of an organizations business processes into a unified system.  Allowing your business areas like finance, accounting, HR, production and material management to come together for efficiency.  

To help organizations increase the odds of a successful ERP deployment, we have come up with some tips to help in your journey.  Here are 8 tips to help in choosing an ERP software solutions and successfully implement in to your business.

1.  Make a Clear and Extensive List of Requirements

Defining the scope of your project is the most important when starting.  The focus should be placed in a specific business process and the system requirements.  The more detailed put in to your requirements will make for a specific proposal from candidates.  Leaving out any details that are required in the long run will halt a project in its track and can become a costly mistake.

Selecting an ERP system is a long-term investment, choosing one based on factors such as price or current popularity can also be a mistake in the future. Take in to mind which ERP systems are specific to your business plan, an industry specific system.

2.  Include Mobile Users

Device mobility is increasing across industries, we have come to a time where waiting to get home to use a desktop to access information is in the past.  Choosing an ERP solution that provides access to those using smartphones and tablets is essential.

3.  Carefully Evaluate your Options before Selecting your ERP system

Going back to planning and creating a list of requirements, poor requirement definitions and vague priorities can lead to the a bad decision for your ERP system.  “Lack of participation and input from key stakeholders in the evaluation stage can lead to poor acceptance and user adoption. And don’t forget that delays running the evaluation project itself ultimately delay the go-live date and the time to benefit,” says Tom Brennan, Vice President of Marketing, FinancialForce.com, a provider of cloud based ERP solutions.

4.  Get Reference

A great way to get a true feel for an ERP vendor is asking for references.  None different than asking an employee for professional references, you want to make sure you are receiving, not only a good ERP provider but one with good standing with others.  If the company you are looking to can not come up with three verifiable references then may be the are not the solution for you.

5.  Think Before You Customize

When making request for customizable settings keep in mind each item comes at a cost.  When creating your lists of needs, consider whether those requirements can be mainstreamed to eliminate the cost with specific pieces of your ERP system.  Many company’s basic processes are virtually the same such as paying invoices, collecting revenue and procuring supplies.  Keep in mind the cost of customizations doesn’t only come with writing and testing code, but in continued support for the system. Keep It Simple.

6.  Factor In Change Management

Matt Thompson, Vice President of Professional Services, EstesGroup, an ERP managed services and technology solutions provider states, “Typical ERP projects facilitate massive change in organizations that can include changing of day to day job descriptions or eliminating job descriptions in total.  These changes impact the culture of your company and with out careful control and communication plans and workshops can create an adverse reaction to ERP, resulting in carriers to implementation.

7.  Appoint an Internal ERP Champion

Make sure you aren’t relying exclusively on your ERP vendor to manage your project.  Select a person within your company who knows how to manage the software system and be the person responsible for learning the new system.  They will also be responsible for collecting data and end user requirements to tune your ERP to work best for your organization.

8.  Provide the Necessary Time and Resources for Training on ERP System

A new way of operating and implementation will take time for everyone,  your project team should make sure they made a good comprehensive training to make sure are well informed to operating the new system.  This is also where your ERP champion will be your greatest resource, having a support contact with in the company time loss when trying to contact an outside resource.

Taking these tips in to account when choosing your ERP system will guide you to making the correct choice for your company.  Research, plan and implementation will steer you in the right direction.


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