How To Choose The Best ERP Solution: A Guide For Small To Medium Sized Business05 Jun 2018 | by Brett Mundell
There is no quick, easy answer to the question “which is the best ERP software solution for my business?”
There are multiple different Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Business Management Solutions (BMS) to choose from in the Australian SME market.
Rather than focusing on which is the best solution, in this article we will focus on the best process to ensure that your business implements the right ERP solution.
When it comes to ERP, every business is different
The first thing to understand is that when it comes to ERP software solutions, every business is slightly different. Even if your functional requirements are similar to another business, there are other influencing factors when it comes to choosing an ERP solution:
- Internal resource skill set and availability;
- Current systems;
- Processes and structures within your business;
Each of these factors and a number of other elements can influence which ERP solution is best for your business.
How functional requirements influence your ERP choice
Choosing an ERP solution that is well-suited to your functional requirements is what the decision is all about. Aim for a solution that has the standard, out-of-the-box functionalities that you are looking for.
List your core functional requirements and short-list ERP solutions that have a close functional fit to those requirements. Start at a high level then drill down to more detail as your investigation into ERP continues.
As an example, you might list your major requirements as follows:
- Multi-company, multi-country with consolidation;
- Inventory control across multiple warehouses;
- Bar-code scanning / paperless warehouse;
- Simple manufacturing;
- Works order;
- Bill of materials;
- Basic MRP / planning;
- Service and repairs;
- Management of the repairs and returns process;
Start with a high-level list of requirements (usually a one-page document). Align this to the vendors that believe that they are well suited to your functional requirements and budget. The ERP vendor will need to align the budget with expectations.
Keep it simple
Don’t over-complicate things. If your business does not require complex manufacturing or complicated supply chain management then, don’t buy it or try and implement it. Take baby steps, grow into your ERP solution and keep it simple – automated, but not over-complicated.
Cloud vs on-premise
Choose Cloud vs on-premise based on your company’s specific situation and requirements.
It is true that in 2018, about 90% of enquiries that the team at Leverage Technologies received are for Cloud-based ERP solutions. But, this does not mean that Cloud is the only way to go. Assess your company’s requirements and infrastructure before making a decision:
- Internet reliability and speed;
- Five-year cost structure review;
- Remote access;
- Growth plans;
- Standard ERP vs bespoke (how “standard” are your requirements?).
Technology is becoming increasingly important
Think about some of the advantages of a technically advanced, modern ERP application:
- Cloud – More computing power available than ever before for a simple monthly fee. Pay as you go and add more computing power as you need it;
- Mobility – We can’t be competitive in today’s world unless you offer true mobility apps, web client access and the ability to get the information that we want, when and where we want it;
- E-commerce – Easy, integrated and available 24 x 7;
- EDI – Integration for order taking and a whole lot more. Integrated into the Australian major retailers and extended (in some form) through your supply chain. Make it easy to manage orders and the delivery process;
- AP Automation – Automate your AP process and approvals using OCR technology;
- Internet of Things (IoT) – The connectivity of multiple devices across the internet to share data. Think of the multiple internet-connected devices that we use daily and now, consider all of that data being shared. How can this data help us to make better-informed decisions with regard to customers, marketing, suppliers and team members to help us run a better business?
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – It’s coming to ERP. With massive data volumes being collected from multiple different sources, Artificial Intelligence will help us sort through data to pick trends and help make better decisions from machine learning.
Choose your ERP software and Cloud solution carefully but choose your ERP implementation partner even more carefully! Your ERP implementation partner will take responsibility for transforming an off-the-shelf ERP solution into a tightly integrated solution for your business. Choose a partner that has previous experience in your industry and is a good cultural fit for your business.
Specifically, look at your ERP providers:
- Previous experience in similar industries with similar size organisations;
- Support options;
- Implementation methodology and process;
- Team size, experience and how long team members have been with the organisation;
Take a medium to long-term view
This is surprisingly difficult to manage. If you take a view which is too “short-term” you risk having to re-implement a new ERP solution again in 3-5 years to cater for your growing business and the associated requirements.
Take a view which is too “long-term” and you risk over-complicating your implementation and choice of ERP as you try an implement functionality that you don’t yet need.
Balance these requirements for the best chance at success.
[FEATURE ARTICLE – SAP for SME – is SAP really for small business?]
“Which is the best SMB ERP software solution for my business?” Follow the steps in this article to narrow down your research and make sure that you focus on the right success factors.
There are a number of outstanding ERP providers and resellers in the Australian market and there is an ever-growing amount of competition for Cloud-based ERP. The winner is you, the customer!
As technology continues to advance at a more rapid rate than ever before and as the world of ERP solutions demands more value for money you will be able to choose from several competing solutions to choose the best ERP offering for your SME business.
Brett has more than 20 years of business software sales and company management experience. Brett has been involved in more than 300 ERP projects. His passion is customer satisfaction, making sure every client is more than just satisfied. Brett wants our customers to be driven to refer their friends and peers because we offer the best services and technology available and because we exceeded their expectations.