Chances are the answer is, no. Your CFO will be looking at the financial investment vs how quickly they can see returns, your CTO will be looking at the best technological benefits and how much of the IT team will be needed, your COO will be looking for the quickest way to improve the operational outputs and reporting, and your HR Director will be looking at the least risky approach to ensure you don’t lose half your organisation during the change. This is just a broad guess at what your main department heads might be thinking when you broach the ERP discussion with them.
At Blue Ocean Systems, we’ve worked with many companies, from start-ups to MNCs, and similar considerations apply for them all. In this week’s post, we’ve put together a checklist for when you know an ERP system is your organisation’s next priority.
1) What do you need your ERP system to do?
This will vary between (and within) organisations so it’s worthwhile gathering the insights from your department heads about what their expectations of an ERP are. You might find they highlight the following requirements:
- Clear, accurate and quick accessibility to cash flow status
- Easy to generate reports – from day to day statistics to management-level insights
- Smooth and non-labour intensive month/year end reporting capabilities
- Streamlined processes to improve manufacturing speed and quality
- Sufficient raw materials to meet business needs at all times
- Ability to prepare for peaks in manufacturing requirements
- Access to real-time operational analytics from all inbound sources (including 3rd party and special applications)
- Optimised use of storage space according to customer demand
- Confidence in available-to-promise status
- Overview and insights into customer trends and seasonal demands
Supply Chain Management
- Strong purchasing ability to retain competitive edge
- Insights into sales and marketing strategies to predict and meet consumer demands
- Tools and processes to keep ahead of market and consumer trends
- Accurate and timely information on sales targets, figures and strategies
- Ability to perform more sales-focussed activities instead of paperwork
- Integration with marketing campaigns to streamline sales targets
- Leverage social media technology to discover new market segments and opportunities and gather millions of inbound feeds in real-time
- Access a wider variety of tools and methods to keep ahead of the competition
- Build consumer centric experiences and gather real-time insights
- Drive the organisation to become a provider of choice and build loyal customer base
- Retain key talent through the use of the latest technology
- Assist operations by reducing attrition rates and providing sufficient staffing throughout seasonal peaks
- Focus on employee enrichment activities rather than staff retention programmes
- Drive the company’s growth by adopting the latest advancements in technology including Big Data warehousing to handle structured and unstructured data formats
- Support the business in innovative ways instead of just a report-generating function
- Grow a team of innovators that will keep ahead of market trends
2) What should I ensure my ERP system can do?
We recognise it’s not a decision your company will take lightly (and rightly so). Choosing the ERP solution for your company should be a well thought out process where all your key stakeholders have the ability to voice their requirements, their concerns and their opinions. You might not reach a solution everyone is 100% happy with but there are some common priorities the solution needs to fulfil. For example;
In it for the long haul.Is it a well-established behemoth system or the latest outing on the market? How long the system has been around provides some indication of how long into the future it might remain. Will the system be around to support your company in 10, 20, 30 years?
Part of something bigger.Does the system fit into a larger ecosystem of specialised providers who can meet your industry-specific needs or is it a standalone product requiring lots of added extras? Are you going to need to engage several different software providers to meet your organisation’s needs?
Out of the box and customisable.Is the basic product a good enough fit for your organisation or are you going to spend a lot of time and money adding customised applications? Are customisations possible and easy to manage when needed? [Read our post about why customisations aren’t always a good thing]
Delivered by the experts.Your ERP software is likely to be delivered by a team of consultants in the form of a reseller. Are you confidant in their ability to assess your organisations needs? Will they be available to help you in the future when you want to update or change something in your system? (More on this below)
3) What do I need from my ERP solution provider?
Just as important as the actual software, the people delivering it to your organisation need to be a good fit for you. For example, they need to:
Build your trust.You will be working with this team for a long time – from the pre-sales, through the implementation as well for ongoing support so your organisation needs to know they can trust the provider to be around, be helpful and have your best interests as their priority.
Be on the ball.Your solution provider should have their eyes and ears to the ground for the latest trends and technologies affecting your industry software.
Walk the talk.The team delivering what is probably your largest business investment needs to prove why they are the best fit for your company. They should be able to provide case studies, success stories and customer testimonials from others in your industry so you know you are making the right choice.
Keep their promises.The provider might be good at sales but how quickly can they respond to issues after the implementation phase is over? Ask them for their average response times and decide whether that’s acceptable for your business operations.
Have access to the right people.Can your ERP system provider integrate with an ecosystem to support your industry? They should be able to provide a one-stop solution and know the best methods for doing this.
Share your vision.The ERP provider should care where your organisation is now, and where you want to take it in the future; and help you to get there.
The Blue Ocean Systems team of SAP Business One and SAP HANA experts is proud to tick these boxes for our customers and prospects and we’re not afraid of letting our customers know if we aren’t right for them (read our post on this here!)
Contact us today and let us prove why we might just be the best fit for your organisation’s business management software needs.