What is the best ERP platform? It’s a seemingly simple question asked by those on the hunt for a new solution, but the answer is far more complex than you might realize. There are a variety of factors that play into the answer. According to the Senior Research Analyst from InfoTech Research Group, the best way to answer that question is to break it into smaller ones and evaluate it from a few different angles, such as:
1. What’s driving the ERP project? Ask yourself, why are you replacing your existing system or purchasing your first one? According to InfoTech, a majority of businesses begin an ERP project because they need to improve their reporting capabilities (72%), the second is support for specific executive initiatives (67%). Other common drivers of an ERP project include:
- Accommodate growth of the business (59%).
- Industry specific initiatives (55%).
- Functional enhancements for financial initiatives (52%).
- Lower total cost of operation (51%).
- Replaced outdates IT systems (46%).
- Functional enhancements for HR initiatives (45%).
Which of the above are the driver of your project? Make sure you look at the data model underlying the ERP product(s) you’re considering and how they allow for integration and expansion to meet your specific needs.
2. What are the key challenges companies face during an actual implementation? According to InfoTech there are 3 key factors that play into overall project success:
- Anticipating and managing change for end users. Ultimately if the end-users do not use the system, the project can be considered a failure. Effectively managing change depends on a number of things, make sure you choose an ERP system with a friendly and effective user-interface and that it has the ability to support actual business processes.
- Appropriately documenting business processes. This becomes increasingly more important as the business grows and continuously updates their ERP system.
- Managing the transition from implementation to operation. No technology exists to effectively address this issue, this is more about finding the right technology and implementation partners.
To sum up those three points, make sure to look for a system with a good data model to support integration and ongoing development which can support reporting, executive demands, and ongoing growth. The technology also needs an effective UI, good support for custom business processes, and you need to have strong partners.
3. What makes ERP successful after implementation is done? InfoTech research shows that the most important consideration and success factor after the project is complete is the ERP systems ability to drive continuous improvement (80%). What actually enables business owners to drive improvements? The answer shifts back to data integration, reporting, and support for business processes
Other post-implementation success factors include:
– Executive sponsors encouraging those ongoing improvements (73%).
– Focus on end-user training (73%).
– Focus on developer/analyst training (67%).
– Patches are up to date (60%).
– Focus on cost/control containment (40%).
– Active relationship with the vendor (38%).
Remember, ERP is about more than just buying the right technology; your implementation will have the greatest impact on the success or failure of your project. Make sure to avoid these common ERP implementation mistakes.