Are your sales forecasts based on facts and data or guesswork and gut feelings? Do your internal processes around client data, inventory management and reporting feel seamless and centralized, or are they full of manual tasks and overall disarray?
Having enterprise resource planning (ERP) software puts an end to fragmented systems by bringing all the components of business together onto one platform. ERP software provides data visibility across the whole organization, allows for more automation and improves processes — and it does all this at a lower overall cost to the organization.
When contemplating any technology upgrade in an organization, especially one requiring a substantial investment of resources (such as a new ERP system), there must be a clearly defined tangible benefit for improving the company’s competitive performance.
Staying focused on the desired business results you’re aiming to achieve is imperative to meet your goals and earn an acceptable return on investment. There are several best practices to consider that make the software selection process and transition smoother. Some of these include:
- Documenting current performance measures
- Documenting current technology costs
- Making business process requirements the foundation for your system requirements
- Defining and prioritizing what decision criteria you will use to determine the range of data you want to extract from the software
- Establishing internal consensus on process and system priorities
- Doing your homework — be inquisitive and validate what you learn by checking with people who currently use the software
Traditionally, the two options for ERP software were on-premise and cloud-based solutions. With on-premise software becoming out of date, cloud-based solutions have become the go-to option. That said, there are now two types of cloud-based systems to be aware of: dedicated and multi-tenant.
Dedicated systems are typically seen as a “fake” cloud solution. They’re web-based and for that reason are considered part of the cloud, but their version-locked support and varying update releases make it difficult for the provider to invest in improvements and provide consistent support.
Multi-tenant solutions are seen as “true” cloud-based systems. They have a single version model, which means the provider’s focus is on improving features and providing consistent support for all users. Multi-tenant software is also subscription based, where the overall cost is spread across system users, creating a reduced individual price compared to dedicated systems.
Now that you know the difference between the two main cloud-based software options, it’s important to ask the right questions to a potential software provider to confirm you’re getting the one that aligns best with your business needs.
When weighing options with a cloud-based ERP software provider, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions to ensure the software has the capabilities you’re looking for. We recommend asking the following questions to help you make an informed decision:
- What are the costs incurred by moving our current ERP system into the cloud?
- How will cloud services affect the internal IT team?
- How does a cloud ERP solution improve the ability to scale?
- Will my data be more secure in the cloud?
- Will the cloud ERP work with cloud-based Office and Outlook products?
- What if our internet connection goes down?
- What support services should I expect to receive as part of an ERP subscription?
As with any business investment, doing proper research and due diligence at the front end of the decision-making process will yield a better final result. If you’re curious about upgrading your ERP software but aren’t sure where to start, our team can help.
Creative Planning is a trusted provider of the industry-leading ERP software, NetSuite. We’d be happy to discuss NetSuite’s vast capabilities with you and how it can take your business processes to the next level. Contact us today to learn more about our range of enterprise and technology services.