The holidays will soon be over, but a gift that's an investment can benefit your company through the years. High quality ERP software is exactly that kind of gift for your growing small business. Owners and entrepreneurs can easily imagine the value that comes from greater efficiency plus increased visibility.
This can't be a last-minute purchase though.
Where your entire staff is counting on you to help the company succeed, this present for the SME has to be just right. And that means doing the necessary due diligence. Getting sales quotes and demos from highly recommended ERP providers is a great start. But as Angela Nadeau at SmallBusinessTrends.com explains, there are other essential details you need to know to buy the best ERP product for your organization.
The five key factors to ERP implementation success, as described by Angela and supported by her readers, go as follows:
- Professionalism – The fact that you CAN buy an ERP package off the shelf and deploy it out of the box is not evidence that you should. Instead, smart business owners know that they're also investing in a partnership with the ERP provider or consultant. Make sure that ongoing support and training is something they assume is the case, not an unexpected question they have to look into. Reliable professionals will realize that their success is intertwined with your company's success.
- Flexibility – The best ROI will come from an ERP solution that can adapt to your unique business expertise. You've put a lot of energy into figuring out the best ways to sell and support; imagine the value that can come from software tools that leverage your experience and insights! One of the best open-source, modular platforms is Apple FileMaker. This means you can implement existing products for managing purchases, projects, customer relationships, and finance needs, then easily customize the software to give you an ideal harmony with your organization's setup.
- Research – You're off to a great start on this one, but there are other questions you'll want to ask about your ERP solution. Do they offer you data warehousing? Clear visibility on the data for good forecasting? Mobile features? One good approach for this level of research is to build a dream-team of features describing everything the perfect product would bring to the table. Of course you may not find a 100% match to your list, but it will give you a good view of your group's priorities so you can match up the most important functionality.
- Business Intelligence – This element is quickly becoming a driving factor in marketplace success. Any ERP tool will start to open this doorway for you, but some do a better job than others. You want to find a solution that presents the information most vital to your industry and that gives you the quickest, clearest view on that knowledge. The critical detail here is that you know the data that's most important for your growth analysis better than most ERP products. That brings us back to flexibility and customization. Getting your people involved in capturing data and translating it to wisdom is a key method for getting the most value from our software.
- Rapid Adoption – Speaking of the other personnel in your organization, they are obviously a crucial factor in making a new software tool a successful addition to the mix. "Rapid" isn't necessarily the key term here, but "adoption" is. To help ensure your staff is comfortable with the new tools, get them involved as early as possible. Letting them know you're looking to upgrade their tools can raise morale and help you collect insights about what functionality would be most helpful in day-to-day productivity. And with the right ERP platform, the people who know your business inside-out can transform their understanding into useful tools. The bottom line here is that even the best ERP product won't strengthen you business much if the people who use it feel alienated from it.
With these five guidelines in mind, you're well on your way to making a smart decision for your company's ERP needs.
As noted on Capterra, a software research site produced by Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, aACE Software ranks high in customer reviews and product quality. We provide a fully integrated, cross-platform solution for accounting, CRM, and ERP. To find out how well aACE matches with your company's needs, watch our videos and browse our site.
"aACE was able to customize a few key components for us very intelligently that now just work. Exactly the way we need them to." ~ Derek Navratil, IT Administrator, Janibell Inc