Selecting an ERP system: Steps to remember

2021-07-23

Part 2: Essential steps

In the previous section, we briefly summarized what an ERP system is. We presented the key aspects of an ERP system and some of the associated benefits. Our focus now shifts to the process of selecting an ERP system and implementation partner.

 

Preliminary stage 1: Define your objectives, budget and timeline

Once you’ve decided to embark on this project, the first step is, undoubtedly, defining your objectives, budget and timeline. It’s also the right time to identify the results you want, since they’ll be useful in gauging the project’s success later. Another thing that’s just as important: setting your budget right now, to reduce the risk of cost overruns. Working out a timeline means determining the time available to complete the project – not planning the various stages.

 

Preliminary stage 2: Review and analyze your business processes

This is a brief exercise, mostly intended to identify your company’s business processes so you can choose an ERP system that works for all of them. A more detailed analysis will follow during implementation, once the solution is chosen.

Just as business processes vary from one company to the next, every ERP system is different, based on its constituent modules. Hence the importance of having a good idea, right from the start, of which processes you want the chosen solution to handle.

 

Some criteria for selecting an ERP vendor

Dozens of criteria need to be weighed when selecting an ERP vendor. Some are more important than others, however, and will figure largely in your decision. Let’s examine a few of them.

 

Matching functionalities and processes

The important thing is to select a system with features or functionalities that match your needs. The best ERP system for your company is, undoubtedly, the one with the right tools for the business processes identified in Preliminary stage 2 above. Your research may turn up so-called general ERPs (that can be adapted to a number of industries) or a “best-of-breed” ERP, developed specifically for the challenges of a given company/industry. Each one has its own benefits and limitations (flexibility, best practices, investment in development, customization).

 

The ERP system vendor’s reputation

An ERP system vendor’s reputation can generally be trusted. When checking the reputation of different vendors, be sure to contact companies in similar businesses to yours. After all, the needs of a professional services firm, for example, will be vastly different from those of a manufacturing company.

 

Support

ERP systems are extremely complex – and you will need support sooner or later. So it’s important to thoroughly understand what type of support each vendor provides. If most of your users are Francophone, for example, you’ll very likely favour a company that provides French-language support during hours that work with your time zone. Other factors you should consider when making your selection: How easy is it to get support? How quickly are incidents resolved?

 

Training and documentation

Since ERP systems are immensely complex (as mentioned above), training and documentation should also be taken into account. Once again, the issue of language becomes fairly important. Does the vendor provide training and documentation in the language of your choice? The type of training available should also factor into your decision. While some people prefer training in a classroom setting, others are more inclined to an in-house approach, while still others may opt for online training, for example.

 

Choosing an implementation partner

Implementing an ERP system is a major project, and statistics – unfortunately – reveal a fairly high fail rate. Both the solution and the implementation partner you choose will have a major impact on your project’s success. As you start this undertaking, your level of expertise in this area will very likely range from zero to minimal. A partner who can understand your needs and how your company operates – down to the last detail – and also knows your ERP system thoroughly will help keep you from going down the wrong path and mitigate the risks involved in a project of this scope.

The company you ultimately choose will quickly evolve from a simple service provider into an actual partner… and its contribution generally extends beyond helping you through system implementation. The best industry players provide a wide range of professional services linked closely, or less closely, to your needs. Your partner could, for example, provide you with training—sometimes in a language not available through your ERP system vendor. It could also, if needed, take charge of system management, administration and development. Finally, your implementation partner can help you optimize your business processes. As you go through the process of choosing this partner, make sure you’re fully informed of what the firm can do for you, then ask about case studies available for perusal. You may, later in the process, want to consult with clients in the same industry, to find out how satisfied they are with the software itself, product integration and the long-term vision… because it’s common knowledge: choosing an ERP is a long-term decision!

 

Conclusion

We could write an entire book on the selection of an ERP system. Our goal here was to provide you with a brief overview of what the process calls for. This is a very broad subject, however, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Want to learn more about choosing an ERP system? The experts at EC Solutions can help you see things more clearly. Contact us for more details.

 

 

About us
EC Solutions
By choosing EC Solutions, you will not only benefit from the high level of expertise of our employees and partners, but also from the company's unconditional commitment to help you achieve success.
Our solutions
Epicor software
About us
EC Solutions
By choosing EC Solutions, you will not only benefit from the high level of expertise of our employees and partners, but also from the company's unconditional commitment to help you achieve success.
Our solutions
Epicor softwares
ERP support
Services
Stay in touch
Contact us

EC Solutions © All rights reserved | Powered by cFocus.

EC Solutions © All rights reserved | Powered by cFocus.