Small business ERP vendors: five qualities to look for
Your CEO has been searching for a small business ERP vendor. The company needs to prepare for the future and ERP is a requirement. However, the certainty that thousands of ERP vendors will follow up to sell their wares as soon as the click is complete is scary. There is no time to talk to them all.
You need to narrow the search. Here are a few places to begin.
Small business clientele
Most of the ERP vendors will be good at their business. There is no likely connection to be made with a vendor that deals with multinational businesses with many product lines and a hundred thousand employees. A vendor that specializes in small business ERP systems ought to be an advantage. Maybe even one with a mid-size clientele and good small-business experience? That should narrow the search considerably…
Even more important to the search would be the number of small businesses the vendor has actually helped to succeed. A vendor with a documented winning record would be best. One with successes in our marketplace would be even better. This is a quality we need in our search.
Your business is still small but growing. All of you move from job to job daily as things need to be done. It is important that an ERP vendor can work in this type of environment. Your accountant enters sales orders too. Your engineer serves as a quality inspector. None of them has the full time to devote to any single discipline while you select and implement ERP.
Your vendor has to offer the flexibility for users to to work on accounting a couple of hours and then move to another domain for the next hours. This might not be ideal, but it is how things operate today and might be one reason you need an ERP.
No decision is made yet. A multi-tenant ERP system seems to have features you should consider. Fewer upfront costs are a valuable feature for a business perpetually short of cash.
You can avoid the cost of servers and IT people by implementing a cloud ERP - this way the ERP vendor takes over that responsibility. Your ERP vendor ought to have the experience to lead up to a running system in the cloud. They also should understand where that cloud might not fit you well and help make the right choice for the long run.
Integration and customization
The odds of any ERP providing 100% of what you need are small. You probably will need some customization at some point. There probably is some other system ERP should integrate with as well. You cannot afford a lot of software development expense and your current software team is already overloaded. An ideal ERP vendor should also have development resources that understand the ERP and can work with you to develop the customization and integration we will need at the lowest possible cost.