Choosing an ERP is always a difficult decision that has significant economic consequences. It needs research and proper evaluation because it influences your organization in many different ways. Long term commitment to a software and its vendor comes after this step. Implementation process lasts for such a long time and it takes huge amount of resources. Therefor you and your consultants need a clear understanding of your requirements and characteristics for a product. Here is a list of equally important though less considered items for evaluating and choosing an ERP product.
Total cost of ownership for a product is not just the license fees when it comes to enterprise and complex systems like an ERP. After interviews and identifying the requirements, list of necessary customization and development might surprise you. There is no product exactly the way you need but some products are more flexible and easier to change.
No matter in which pace, growth happens in all companies from single person companies to international firms. By choosing an ERP you are choosing your principle business software platform for next coming years. It’s important to have a reasonable growth rate in mind.
Cloud vs On Premise
The purpose of this article is not to discuss pros and cons of Cloud and On Premise deployment scenarios. You will for sure study different possibilities and compare them to find the best solution that fits your expectations the best. These scenarios might significantly change your environment, maintenance and license costs. The important point here is the possibility and cost of switching between these options later.
Like any other software system, your ERP needs to be upgraded once in a while. Software producers tend to improve their product’s usability, performance and add new features. These upgrades could entail reconfigurations, data transfers, and test. Software with modern architecture allows you to develop and deploy required customizations isolated from core system in order to be able to reinstall your customizations after each version upgrade in core ERP.
Having access to your dashboard or calendar through your smart phone while you are in a conference hundreds of miles away from your office is not fancy anymore. This is more critical when you have more people on the road doing business and communicating with back office. Some ERP systems come with apps for android, apple, and other device platforms and some are originally web based and mobile friendly.
Open source projects come with passionate communities while proprietary ERP systems are targeting enterprises with more complicated challenges. License types influence the process of choosing an ERP in many ways. Licensing model changes the TCO (total cost of ownership), product features, implementation time, support availability, etc. The question here is not which one is better. It’s about which one is more convenient for your business requirements.
Having a feature requirement list based on current business workflows is not all you need to choose an ERP. This is a decision for an IT infrastructure in your company. You also need to keep in mind that future is always full of surprises. Flexibility, scalability and extensibility will come handy in some cases.
For more information, contact Hamid Darabi