5 Things to Check Before Buying an ERP Software

ERP Software| marketing profession| technology professional
Nilesh Shah | Co-Founder | RanceLab

An ERP system is the umbrella that covers, connects, and consolidates all the end to end processes of a business. It enables you to review data and make better, data-driven decisions across their entire operations. An ERP software helps take care of all your business functions, right from billing, procuring raw materials, storing and issue, production and inventory control, customer engagement, accounts, supply chain, payroll, and analytics.

In other words, it is the engine that drives your entire business, ensures smooth operations, maximizes growth, and yields high profits. Thus, purchasing and implementing ERP software should be done with the utmost care, extensive research, and thorough planning.

Here’s a quick checklist of important items to review while evaluating an ERP Software 

  1. What’s in it for me that the vendor is offering Vs. top vendor with expensive ERP?

Each business is unique, and so is yours. Your business has its specific challenges and requirements, which may be different from other similar businesses. While numerous brands offer ERP solutions, it is vital to understand which ERP vendor caters to my specific needs and challenges. Rather than going with top vendors in your business category, evaluate multiple vendors and their specific offerings for your business. Also, buying and ERP is not a one-time thing. It involves regular product updates, ongoing services, and that’s why it is important to know how the vendor offers the same in the long run. 

  1. Have we listed down all our requirements and needs?

Adopting an ERP software means more than just automating your existing business operations. It requires an accurate listing of current challenges and requirements, so the purchase decision process becomes smooth. It should also cover your future needs and unforeseen barriers and support your growth plans and vision. It includes vigilant analysis of the existing business model to identify and eliminate the backdated process, make necessary adjustments to your current operations, develop new strategies and thus develop an overall business model to match the latest demands of the market and consistently being able to do so in the future. Moreover, automating a bad process only makes a bad process run faster, which would adversely affect the business resulting in the business downfall. 

  1. Does an ERP with long features list is good for your business?

Although a long feature list by an ERP software might seem an attractive option, but you should not be merely blinded by it. A sharp focus on your specific business needs and requirements and match it with the vendor’s available features and functionality. It must also focus on other factors like how these business practices are offered, how these features have helped similar other businesses, customization, flexibility and integration ability, accessibility, primary qualification, and alignment of your organizational needs with that of the ERP software offering. Such analysis will be helpful in the long run and will save you from the costs and nightmare of changing your ERP software often.

  1. How much time will the process take and what resources will it require?

While it is important to evaluate vendors and mapping your business plans and processes with that of the product they are offering, and it is also important to understand that implementing an ERP system is a complex process that takes time. It may not be possible to determine all the implementation requirements, speed up the installation and training process and bring the system into action all at once, but would require you to take baby steps and demands involvement of the end-users at each step to understand system workflow, accurately identify requirements, go for test runs, find crack and work on it to fill them and then proceed. You must staff adequate resources and invest quality time throughout the implementation process for the effective implementation of an ERP software. 

  1. Is the maintenance strategy and ongoing support properly planned out?

Implementing an ERP software isn’t a one-time thing. It requires parallel investment and thoughtful planning in its maintenance strategy and ongoing support as well. It is required to not only ensure smooth operations but also to keep the business up to date with the latest functionalities and tools. This wholesome plan keeps your business going smoothly for the constantly evolving business environment and changing consumer market. An outdated ERP, on the contrary, increases business risk and chances of business failures by creating holes in the business process. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that the vendor provides or have proper arrangements for round the clock support services, which is easily accessible and always prepared to resolve queries or address any bugs that might hamper the functioning of the system.

Bonus Tip

Who are the existing clients of the vendor and what are they saying about it?

A customer reference check is an important step in the process of a purchase decision. It plays a major role in influencing and considering the buying decision in favor of or against a particular vendor. Not asking for adequate customer references is one of the biggest mistakes that a business could make while selecting an ERP software. A reference call or visit to these customers can bring in vital focus information about the vendor and acts as evidence that supports the vendor company’s credibility and brings faith in all its promised offerings. It also establishes trust between the two entities, which in the long run lays the foundation of a strong partnership between yours and the vendor’s companies.

A good ERP software that well suits the needs of your business will not only help automate all operations and streamline business operations but will enhance your team’s efficiency, thereby ensuring maximum profits and bring targeted growth for your business in the long run.

About the Author

Nilesh Shah, Co-founder of RanceLab, is a trained marketing and technology professional. As a Retail and Restaurant automation expert, his result-oriented approach has enabled a considerable number of retail and restaurant businesses to trim their costs, achieve higher profits, and deliver superior customer service.

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