ERP Buyer Guide
Are you looking for an ERP solution, but can’t decide which solution to use?
It is important to approach your evaluation with a developed list of needs to help you find the best program.
When first looking for an ERP solution, you should understand what you need out of the program. Some questions to ask yourself are:
- Does your company require an on premise server or would you like a cloud-based solution?
- What features do you need? Do you need a customizable chart of accounts? Do you need lot numbers or serial number inventory tracking? Are there government regulations that the program must adhere to?
- How flexible is the program? Does the program work with your current workflow?
Will you need to modify your workflow to use the program? If you need to adjust your workflow, are you willing to do so?
- How long do you need this solution to work? Is it an interim solution or would you like to find something for the next decade?
What capabilities will you need in the future?
To determine whether the program meets your requirement, you can:
- Ask for a live demo with a program expert. Most providers are willing to demonstrate how their solution works and how you can utilize their solution.
- Test the solution with an online demo version or free trial.
- Contact the support and/or sales teams and ask questions.
When evaluating an ERP solution, make sure that it provides the tools you need and that it can be customized to show the data you need for sound decision-making. It is important that the information is easily accesible and can be presented in the way you need to view it. Some questions to ask yourself are:
- Can you customize the reporting in the program?
- Is there a limit to the number of reports you can customize? Does the provider charge more if you want more reports?
- Can you pull all the information you need or will you have to generate multiple reports?
- Do you need to export the reports? Can they be printed easily?
The next factor to evaluate is the program interface and ease-of-use. Even if the program is robust, it is useless if it is too complicated to use on a regular basis.
- Is the user interface intuitive? Can you easily find what you are looking for?
- How easy is it to enter accounting data? Will your accounting department, accounts receivable and accounts payable departments be able to perform their tasks easily?
- Does the program require your users to be experts in their subject matter to use the program easily?
Can the program be adapted to different skill levels?
When you develop your budget for what you are willing to allocate to the ERP solution, you must include any initial costs, monthly/yearly fees and future maintenance costs.
- What are the initial setup and implementation fees? Do you need to purchase servers? Are you charged for program configurations?
- What is the cost per year? Is there a per user license charge? How many licenses will you need to purchase?
- What will it cost to maintain the system? Are there additional costs for having a dedicated IT team, does the provider charge for service visits, etc.?
- What are the system upgrade costs? Will you have to purchase future program upgrades?
- How much will it cost to train your users?
When selecting a solution, it is also important to evaluate the provider themselves. If the program has a lot of downtime, is riddled with bugs or charges too much for training that can increase your costs while reducing the returns on the solutions. If you are looking at a cloud-based solution, you should look into the following issues:
- Is the provider stable and reliable?
- What is the program uptime?
- How often do they release new features? Do you have to pay extra for those features?
- How quickly are bugs remedied?
- What training do they provide?