When organizations begin the task of seeking out and integrating an enterprise resource planning solution, there’s a very clear need for strategy. Without getting a plan down and buy-in from the employees who will directly work with an ERP solution, it’s very unlikely that any sort of integration will pan out as the business anticipated.
On top of the necessary functionality that an ERP implementation should bring to a business, it’s important to realize that it can be an overly expensive process if the business chooses a vendor or platform that doesn’t meet its needs.
According to PYMNTS.com, businesses often face the question of whether to keep their ERP software in house or work through a cloud-based solution. The latter has taken off recently with IDC reporting that nearly one-quarter of the roughly $46 billion global market for cloud services was spent on ERP systems in 2013.
With relatively high costs for an ERP implementation, companies are often looking for alternatives that will afford them flexibility and efficiency, while also long-term value. Here are some ERP implementation tips.
A hybrid solution
Midsize Insider explained a cloud-based ERP platform can help businesses remove some tasks from internal workflows and move them to the cloud. For instance, invoicing and transaction processing can likely be automated and managed by an ERP solution in the cloud. This allows the workforce to focus on other tasks that require manual effort or activities that data collection systems can’t readily handle. Meanwhile, midsize organizations can leverage in-house ERP software for data management, analytics and reporting because these can easily be handled internally.
Here are several steps that can help a company understand what it takes to fully consider an ERP solution:
1. Clarify organizational needs
According to Manufacturing Business Management, it’s imperative that the company first recognizes which specific business processes and systems will be most impacted by the ERP implementation. Creating a list of up-front requirements can help isolate costs because the company won’t be spending on solutions that aren’t needed or wanted.
2. Get everyone on board
Getting a collection of opinions from all stakeholders is a much-needed part of planning for an implementation. In other words, everyone from the CEO to the internal teams who will be working hands-on with the ERP software needs to be part of the evaluation committee. This not only increases the likelihood that the ERP platform will be right one for the organization’s needs, but it also gets more people to buy into the idea of integrating the solution.
3. Prioritize flexibility
One of the big question marks with any ERP solution is the level of customization that’s either wanted or needed. According to CIO, ERP systems with more customization are likely to be a bit pricier and will generate higher costs as upgrades occur. So, while it’s important to make certain the ERP fits the specific needs of the business, it’s also a good idea to consider long-term expenses. At the same time, customizations may end up hand-cuffing an organization when an upgrade happens because the developers responsible for creating the custom coding will likely need to be called upon later.
4. Keep mobile technology in mind
As CIO noted, bring-your-own-device policies have gained traction in many organizations, which adds a bit of complexity to implementing an ERP. The main concern is security but there’s also a need for integration when employees use their personal smartphones or tablets to carry out business processes. Keeping mobile in mind can lead to greater productivity as staff can perform the same task from virtually anywhere within the work environment.