Choosing the right ERP software for your business is about more than just the features, costs, and your business needs. Many ERP systems have a single vendor distributing and supporting the software, so you also need to evaluate each vendor to make the right choice, not just the software.
Understand Your Business Needs
A critical first step in selecting an ERP vendor is understanding the needs of your business. Each business has unique needs and requires specific features from an ERP system. Take your time to identify those unique needs.
For instance, a manufacturing business will have different requirements than a retail business. Likewise, a business in the growth phase might need an ERP system that scales seamlessly. Spend time with your team, draw out your business workflows, and identify those key features you can’t do without.
Vendor Experience and Reputation
Experience and reputation in the industry matter. An ERP vendor that has been in business for a significant period and have a good reputation is likely to be more reliable. They’ve been through the ups and downs and ironed out their product’s teething problems.
Check for reviews and ask the vendor for references. You can also check with other businesses you have a relationship with to discover the system and vendor they used. Speaking with a vendor’s existing clients can provide you first-hand insight; ask about reliability, overall experience, and how the vendor has catered to their specific needs.
Ease of Integration
Given the interconnected nature of business processes, an ERP system should be able to integrate with existing systems seamlessly. This will allow your business to leverage the ERP system’s capabilities without disrupting current operations.
Ask potential vendors about the integration capabilities of their ERP systems. Does the system support the use of APIs? Can the system integrate with both legacy and new applications? How does the system securely handle data flow between different platforms? Answers to these questions can help you evaluate how the ERP system fits into your current business model.
Scalability of the ERP System
Your business isn’t static – it is a growing and evolving entity. The ERP system you choose today should be able to cater to your needs tomorrow. A scalable ERP system allows your business to expand or contract its usage based on business dynamics.
Question the vendors on their product’s scalability. Does the system allow for more users? Can it handle increased data load? Can new modules be added with relative ease?
Customisability of the ERP System
ERP solutions aren’t universal, and the system you choose should have options for customisation according to your specific business needs. Ask the vendor how their product can be tailored to fit your processes, workflows, and reporting needs. Find out whether the system provides flexibility to adapt to your business as it grows and changes, and how easily these customisations can be made. This level of adaptability can significantly impact the value the system brings to your operations.
Cost shouldn’t be the primary factor influencing your decision, but you should still consider the pricing model offered by each vendor. Most ERP systems are now offered as software as a service (SaaS) or cloud-based solutions, with a monthly or annual subscription required. However, some could still offer on-premises deployment options, with the system installed on your own servers. This usually involves a once-time licence fee. Just remember that there are hidden costs to consider with both, such as maintenance fees, and upgrade costs.
Data Security and Compliance
Your ERP system will hold sensitive information about your business. Therefore, data security is critical. Ask the vendors about their data security measures, how they handle data breaches, and their compliance with relevant Australian data protection regulations.
Vendor’s Vision and Future Roadmap
Finally, consider the vendor’s vision and future roadmap for their product. Are they continually innovating and upgrading their product? A vendor that is future-focused is more likely to keep your ERP system relevant and effective in the long run.
Ultimately, you aren’t only choosing a product, you’re also choosing a partner for your business. You want them to align with, and support, your business needs and future growth plans. Speak to us about Tencia, our ERP system for small and medium businesses. We can arrange a product demonstration, discuss your business’ needs, and answer questions about our product and how we support our clients.