What to Consider when Choosing an ERP System?
Monday, 20 Jul, 2020

Today most companies have accounting software but some struggle to integrate it with the rest of their business processes. Financial data is vital to understanding business success, but standalone software means that staff across the business often can’t access the right information to make informed decisions. 

The reality is that, as companies grow, many businesses end up with numerous, disparate systems that don’t ‘talk to each other’. This means that duplication of data entry and tedious manual processes can become a real problem, taking up valuable time and costing the business money, as well as the risk of mistakes if data is entered incorrectly.

Modern, comprehensive, ERP systems have numerous benefits, but how do you know what to look for when reviewing the available options?

ERP software is the digital ‘core’ that supports operations and processes in almost every aspect of a business, supporting existing and future digital developments. With extensive functionality covering financials, sales, marketing and customer relationship management, production and project management, inventory and warehouse management, procurement and supply chain, and many more besides, the functionality of a good ERP system has wide-reaching benefits.

Define what you need, now and in the future

Choosing an ERP system is a great opportunity to really evaluate what you need. Think about the challenges you face in your business and how software could help reduce those issues. Remember to plan ahead and think about future needs, making sure that whatever you choose is scalable and can meet the needs of your business for the years to come.

It is important to select a partner you are comfortable with and feel that you can trust. The most successful implementations are ones where teams on both sides work cohesively together to deliver a successful project. Your partner will work closely with you to understand your business needs and pain points, so that they can blueprint a solution that matches your requirements; their extensive cross-industry experience and knowledge will enable them to offer suggestions about how to improve certain processes and apply the solution, with suggestions of complementary add-on products when required, to minimise those business issues.

Deployment method

It’s very important to consider how the deployment method for your new ERP system fits in with your business and IT strategy, as well as considering the impact of future technological developments. Cloud is becoming increasingly popular as an agile method of deployment, enabling businesses to quickly and easily scale up (and down) their requirements and adapt to business needs, while maintaining the utmost security of their data. Systems hosted in the world’s leading datacentres can count on 99.9995% reliability and uptime, with daily, weekly, monthly, and annual back-ups performed as standard, ensuring business continuity.

Some companies still prefer to deploy their ERP systems on-premise or as a hybrid of the two environments, but in this case it’s important to consider the impact of owning and maintaining IT hardware resources and technical expertise on the overall cost of ownership. Hybrid deployment enables companies to combine on-premise and cloud deployments – the biggest advantage of which is that your data and applications remain behind your firewall which maintains compliance for certain sensitive organisations. Costs can be higher however, and you will be responsible for maintaining much of your infrastructure and security.

Total cost of ownership

There are a number of things to consider when evaluating software costs, which can make things tricky and mean that you’re in for a shock later on if you don’t identify costs upfront. You should consider whether the product you choose charges a fee for each function you need, or whether the cost covers every aspect of the system – comprehensive ERP systems usually have one charge for this. It is also important to consider support costs and implementation fees – with cloud software, support is often included and implementation time tends to be quicker, reducing the overall cost of implementation.

Conversely, if you’re considering an on-premise or hybrid implementation, there will be hardware and maintenance costs, as well as staff costs and possibly the cost of an external IT support company.

Upgrades

Software continues to change and develop to keep track with new legislation and better technology. You won’t want your business to be on something out of date, so make sure you consider the costs and time needed for upgrades. If you choose cloud software, all upgrades are normally included in the licence cost and will be handled by your supplier. For software you host yourself, you’ll probably need to pay for each upgrade and take care of installing it on each machine or server. You should factor this into your costs.

Partnering for the future 

There are many things to consider when choosing an ERP system but your trusted partner can guide you through the process, ensuring a successful implementation and a positive long-term relationship. Ascarii loves to work closely with our customers to support their business growth – we are proud of our customer retention record and like to work in partnership with customers, considering your success our success.

In addition to our fortnightly introductory webinar series, Ascarii will be running a webinar about future-proofing your business systems with solutions based on SAP Business One at the beginning of August. Click here to register for this session, or please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss modern ERP solutions in more detail.

Choosing an ERP system

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