Implementing the right ERP is key for success; it is a decision to make thoroughly
One of the most critical decisions a business can make is choosing a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). It needs to be given a lot of consideration given that whatever system you choose could be with you for the next 10 years or longer, you need to make the right choice! To help you make that decision, we’ve chosen our top 5 steps.
Form a research team
Wherever you are on your ERP system selection process we can’t overstate the importance of having the right internal team in place to reach the right decision. Without key people who can identify the weaknesses in your current systems, and establish key requirements for the new one you’re going to struggle. This isn’t a one-person job and everyone needs to share the motivation and drive to get the project moving.
Establish your requirements / software functionalities and features
With your team in place it is time to decide what those key features are. This can be a difficult question, especially if you are new to ERP and you aren’t aware what the options are. A phrase we often hear from new clients is ‘We don’t know what we don’t know’ – so it might be good to do a little research and familiarise yourself with what ERP can do.
You’ll probably have some idea already though – Do you need a new CRM system or does the new one need to integrate with your existing CRM? How important is financial reporting, or remote access? Is your business global, or does it have plans to become global? If so, you will want to ensure your new ERP system has support in different languages and compliance with local accounting, tax and regulatory requirements.
Assess the ERP vendors
This can be a little daunting as you will notice there are so many ERP vendors out there that are specific to either small, mid-size or enterprise companies and those that are industry specific. Some make bold claims of what they can do until you get half-way through the selection process to discover they don’t even cover some of your basic requirements.
Try to find out what similar companies in your industry are using and speak to fellow professionals to find out about their experience.
Narrowing down your selection to two or three that you would like to explore fully is a good rule of thumb.
Think about the future – This is really important as the last thing you want to be doing is repeating the whole process in another 2-3 years. Don’t think only of what you need now but what you might need in 2-5 years – if your business continues to be a success you need to know that you have an ERP system that will grow and scale with you, not grind to a halt. You might have plans to expand internationally so the ERP system you opt for needs to handle this.
You may only be selling physical stock right now but you might end up offering support contracts that involve project management. Your revenue streams might become more complex too and a basic ERP might not be able to handle this. How easy is it to add new users, entities, functionality? These are all legitimate and important considerations.
Choose your ERP implementation partner
You may wish to implement your new ERP system with the vendor directly, or you could work with a partner. Whichever option you choose its important to determine what is best for your company. How much industry-specific experience they have and what will the implementation process look like are important questions to ask. If you ask for customer references in your pitches and they aren’t forthcoming it might be better to walk away.
Don’t automatically be swayed by a partner because they offer the fastest implementation either – projects can vary in their complexity and being thorough is overwhelmingly more important than speed. If you do need to be live by a particular date a good implementation partner should be able to discuss the different options with you such as having the accounting functionality in place first and bringing in other areas in a phased approach.
You will also want to know they they committed to your ongoing success. As your business evolves you might want to bring in additional functionality or training for new users. The last thing you want is to go-live and be left to your own devises so ask if there are support contracts available and what exactly they entail.
If you are looking at NetSuite ERP, here are just 3 benefits of partnering with Elevate2.
Define your budget
Once you have got to this point it is time to start getting quotes from vendors.
Any ERP project will require a significant investment but exactly how much will vary according to the size of your business, the number of users requiring access to the system, the scope of the project and the level of customisation that will be required.
If you would like to get a quick quote for implementing NetSuite in your business, you can do so by answering questions from our intelligent estimation tool.This questionnaire only takes 1-2 minutes to complete.