How to Choose the Right ERP Platform
You’ve already heard about the wealth of benefits associated with an ERP solution for retailers, but how can you be sure that you’re choosing the right ERP solution? With the volume of choices available on the market today, it’s easy to get lost between options or to even rush into choosing a platform just for the sake of progress.
In this post, we’re looking at 7 steps that you can take to help ensure that you’ve chosen the right solution for your business.
- Begin by identifying the challenges, pain points, goals, and strengths that your business is currently experiencing and how you want them to be after your implementation is complete. It’s worth it to be specific here and know which features are ‘must haves’ rather than leaving anything to chance.
- Carefully assess your options with key stakeholders and employees throughout your organization. What may seem perfect to someone in the management side of your business, may actually have unintended consequences and difficulties for those who are ultimately using that part of the platform; so it’s important to have feedback and input early in the evaluation process. This can also help with acceptance of the final platform during the transition.
- Build a short list of software vendors and evaluate their demos. Use the pain points, challenges, and goals that you established earlier as your basis for assessment. After each demo, spend some time with your internal team discussing the demo and how it does or doesn’t meet the requirements that you’ve established. Remember that the software demo can also act as an opportunity for you to better assess potential vendors too.
- Recognize the total cost of ownership (TCO) for different options. Understanding costs from the start is key for both initial acceptance and for avoiding surprises down the line when it’s too late to change. Your TCO should include hardware, operating systems, installation, training, repairs, maintenance, licensing, and upgrades to give you the most balanced perspective possible.
- Understand the implementation from the start. Before you make any major commitments during the sales process, be sure to understand what an effective implementation will take in terms of resources and time. This should include a variety of factors, such as data migration, testing, organizational change and others in order to provide a balanced perspective into the process. By doing this before completing the sale, you can ensure that you don’t choose a solution that is going to be excessively difficult to implement, which can ultimately cause it to fail.
- Take objective advice. Do your own research, talk to others in similar situations to yours, and don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. If you can find someone in your industry and network that has already implemented your chosen solution, see if you can talk to them about their experience and suggestions.
- Think and then decide. Though it may seem easy, avoid getting caught the cycle of ‘analysis paralysis’, whereby you’re spending weeks considering your options while your retail business is continuing to experience the challenges that have inspired you to pursue an ERP solution to begin with. Once you’ve made your decision, execute it with confidence knowing that it’s going to improve your business from within.
Choosing the right ERP platform is a major process that shouldn’t be underestimated, but with thorough research and assistance from professionals within the industry, it can be one that causes positive long and overarching benefits for your retail business. If you’re interested in learning more about the process and what steps you can take to ease implementation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Systems Limited, or any other entity related to Systems Limited.