At a time when organisational resources are under intense strain, the capabilities of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) can appear more attractive than ever.
As financial transformation specialists Millennium Consulting explain, a degree of healthy scepticism about vendor claims, absolute clarity on your own requirements and a thorough understanding of the market should serve you well as you seek to identify your best-fit product.
Why ERP, and why now?
ERP can integrate data relating to all key functions (e.g. finance, HR, production and sales) into a single system. Potential advantages of this include greater visibility across the entire business, making it much easier to proactively manage operations, make quicker decisions and address issues before they escalate into major problems. It also enables you to establish a unified reporting system based on accurate, real-time data, enabling employees to generate reports on demand.
The benefits of this technology may be attractive, but there is no escaping the fact that ERP implementation is a major undertaking for any business. So given the many challenges companies are facing at present, is this really the time to commence your ERP project?
In fact, there is a good argument that this is the optimal time to do it. The global ERP software market was valued at $50.37 billion last year. By 2030, it is expected to top $120 billion. Forward thinking businesses realise that now more than ever, they need organisational agility, superior supply chain management and lower costs through improved efficiency. They are adopting ERP in ever greater numbers, precisely because of its potential to help deliver these outcomes.
The challenges of choosing an ERP solution
Making sense of the market
As mentioned above, ERP is a flourishing market, which means a potentially bewildering array of candidates for your long-list, even after narrowing the search on the basis of industry-specific suitability and reputation. Expert help with market navigation can help you focus your search.
Failing to factor in your end goals
As with any major technology procurement, you will hear a lot about the need to identify a ‘best fit’ solution. With some technologies, this means the ability of the solution to adapt to existing processes. However, with ERP, the emphasis is somewhat different. In many ways, it is meant to be disruptive, by replacing data silos and ushering in much more efficient processes.
A solution should not be selected to merely fit into your operational ‘as is’ state; but rather, as a means to help you achieve your wider transformational goals. In formulating those goals, you should engage in process mapping to define how you want optimised processes to look.
Whereas some employees will regard the removal of silos and streamlining of processes as an opportunity, others will regard it as a threat. This is particularly the case if ERP implementation feels like something being done to them, rather than a process they have a stake in. Successful buy-in is much more likely if employees are invited to provide their input.
The key to ERP selection success
Millennium Consulting has developed a proven 4-stage approach to helping businesses make sense of the ERP market and successfully evaluate proposals. This covers set-up (i.e. gaining clarity on organisational requirements and market options), through to RFI and RFP best practice and final decision making.
To get your selection process off to the right start, download the guide here https://millenniumconsulting.com/erp-software-selection/