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5 Factors in Choosing Enterprise Resource Planning Software

5 Factors in Choosing Enterprise Resource Planning Software
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By    |   Wednesday, 07 March 2018 07:12 AM

If you aren’t using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, you might be missing out on some serious benefits for your business. If you aren’t familiar, ERP software is kind of an aggregation of other software designed to make your business run more smoothly.

For example, you might have invoicing and accounting software to manage your financials, inventory management and order tracking to ensure your products are delivered on time, and customer relationship management software (CRM) to keep track of your customers, sales, and other data. ERP software takes all these independent functions and collects them in one centralized platform.

Most businesses invest in ERP software as a cost-saving measure. It’s designed to automate certain processes, help you optimize your efforts to maximize profitability, and help you cut costs in other areas.

Accordingly, it might seem like a no-brainer to invest in ERP; however, there are many different ERP providers out there, and if you want to make the best decision for your business, you’ll need to consider your options carefully.

It won’t take much time or effort to find various ERP platform candidates to consider onboarding. The real trick is finding a way to compare those platforms, since few ERP solutions come with the same set of features to allow an apples-to-apples comparison.

Accordingly, it’s a good idea to start with a comparison checklist, or at least begin the process with a handful of key priorities to guide your decision. If you need help narrowing down your qualities to consider, here are 5 most important components of any platform;

  1. Functionality

First and foremost, you need to assess the functionality of your platform. Some ERP platforms will have a set range of different applications for different departments. Others will have an all-in-one design meant to serve all your needs simultaneously. Complete an audit of your current ERP needs, and only consider the platforms that could feasibly meet those needs. In your research, you may also discover new features that address needs you didn’t know you had; this is acceptable, but try not to make your ERP software too clunky or weighed down by unnecessary features.

  1. Customizability

You should also prioritize customizability within your target platform. Most ERP platforms allow you to mix and match different features, to create a unique solution for your business, and others allow integrations and adaptations that give you the chance to make your platform work better for you. Even if you don’t think you need much customizability, it’s good to have it in case your needs change in the future.

  1. Performance

Be sure to run an exploratory trial before finalizing your decision; it’s important to gauge the product’s performance. Look at how fast the software functions, how responsive it is, and note its overall uptime (if it’s hosted in the cloud). You need a platform that’s going to perform quickly, and be consistently reliable for the indefinite future. You may also want to choose a platform known for receiving regular updates, since it’s a good indication that its issues will be corrected swiftly in the future.

  1. Accessibility

You won’t be the only one using your ERP platform, so think about how accessible it is to other parties. How quickly can a complete newcomer learn how to use the system? Is it easy to set up new users with the appropriate level of control? How much training does it take to familiarize your staff with the new protocols and processes? Your goal should be to make these processes as fluid and seamless as possible.

  1. Cost

Finally, you’ll need to think about cost. Even if you’re trying to make the most frugal decision, it’s not a good idea to skimp and buy the cheapest platform you can find; in many cases, you get what you pay for, and if you invest in a cheap app, you may not get all the benefits that an ERP platform should provide.

Every business is different, so every business will have unique ERP needs. It’s inefficient to try and find the “perfect” platform based on what other business owners are using; instead, it’s better to choose the platform that best suits your business’s needs, and at a reasonable cost.

Take your time with this decision; this could be the platform that dictates your efficiency and profitability for years to come.

Richard Agu is a researcher, entrepreneur and freelancer, passionate about entrepreneurship and self-development. Currently, Richard writes for Entrepreneur.com, Goodmenproject.com, among others. Follow him on Linkedin.com by clicking here now.
 

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5 Factors in Choosing Enterprise Resource Planning Software
enterprise, resource, planning, software
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2018-12-07
Wednesday, 07 March 2018 07:12 AM
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