5 Methods to Help You Compare ERP Software
There is a lot of choice within the ERP market. Google yields 102,000 results for “ERP”. What are the best methods to use when you compare ERP systems and how can you use these to select the best one for your needs?
Compare Against Requirements
It all starts with your own needs. Think hard about why you want to make the comparisons and what is in it for you and your business? Define how you will measure success in the choice and implementation of your ERP system.
Read All About It
Read about ERP systems. See what the experts say about them. You will learn of systems you have never heard of and find some are rated well consistently and others have mixed reviews. Check out the top ten lists; this works for Letterman and can help you too. Try to understand why the reviewer gave it the score they did and you will gain insights to help your selection. Check with your peer groups. What ERP do they use and how satisfied are they?
Calculate the Value
When you compare ERP systems, you need to calculate the value you expect from your ERP selection. What problems will be solved? What processes will be sped up? Will you be able to manage inventory or costs better? Can you qualify with any new customers? How will the ERP system help you achieve your goals – specifically?
Compare the Cost of ERP
Get a good handle on the costs of different ERP systems. Start with the up-front cost of the software. Add in any hardware or network systems required. There will be annual maintenance costs to keep the software up to date and preserve your access to help. You might need hardware upgrades in the future if the ERP software outlasts your hardware. You will have significant start up expenses too. You will probably hire consultants to guide you through the implementation or to outsource some of the work involved. Your own people will have to devote a lot of time to planning, testing, teaching, and getting the whole enterprise satisfied.
Compare the Risk
Take a good look at potential risks when you compare ERP solutions. Understand how to minimize these risk and the probability and severity of them occurring. A poor choice can put you completely out of business. Will your selected supplier still be in business as long as you plan to use the ERP? What would happen if your project champion left the company the day after you wrote the purchase order? There are small, low probability risks and big, high cost risks. Try to think them through.
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