When a business settles on decision of buying ERP, the selection criteria begins to get the right ERP solution. Business has to gauge its requirement and plan accurately before going in for selection of ERP software as a wrong selection can hamper company’s growth, profitability and its survival in competitive markets. Therefore right ERP selection is inevitable to lower the cost, streamline the whole business process and increase sales opportunity and ROI. But the question arises here is how to choose the right ERP for business. This can be answered by following guidelines.
Types of ERP: The first thing that should be figured out before buying ERP for Small business is the type of ERP which is most applicable to suit the business requirement. There are different types of ERP software available with enormous application and functions among which some major type of categories are Business Specific ERP, Industry specific ERP, Open source and Closed ERP, Freeware and Price-based ERP. Apart of these, ERP vendors also offers cloud based ERP as well as SaaS solution. Business should weigh on different functionalities and scalability of each type of ERP to get the best solution on hand for managing their business.
Specify Budget: When looking for ERP, small business begins with planning of budget. The planned budget will guide in right selection among wide range of vendors offering various ERP solutions at varied price range. Majority of SME segment cannot afford the high priced solution that comes with IT support and other hardware and updates. Small businesses generally look for preliminary cost of buying the software. In these cases it is favourable to choose ERP as SaaS (Software as a Service) system. This kind of ERP solution delivers large scale ERP benefits with small investment as SaaS system does not require lengthy installation, maintenance and upgrades.
On the whole when a small business is ready with the budget plan it can jump into deciding the next parameter of selecting right ERP software which is its features.
Determine Features Required: Small business at the subsequent stage must look for the features it requires in its ERP Software. The generalized feature that small businesses require is a comprehensive system that is easy to use with powerful database storage that store thousands of information and generate multiple reports at clicks of buttons. Small business also has to ensure that it gets all the modules it requires to manage its business uninterruptedly. The system also should be intuitive and user-friendly so that the users and employees become more productive in short span of time with minimum training and guidance.
By and large a prospective ERP software for small business should consist the basic features without which a business processes are incomplete. It should cover the important modules and at the same time be flexible enough to configure as per the requirements of business.
Training Required: Business also should comprehend the training required by staff for using the software. It has to figure out the amount of training needed and time consumable in different ERP software and select the one which requires minimum training and learning time. This will ensure user-friendliness and quick deployment with understanding so that business can work without opposition from employees.
Request for Proposal: Once the requirements and budget has been set, the business has to prepare a detailed Request for Proposal. RFP should include questions related to cost, technology, customer base, implementation details, etc. This RFP becomes the basis for inviting applications from prospective vendors. Once the business receives a bunch of responses, it can then move ahead with analysis of these vendors on the basis of their offerings.
Attend Demo: Once the business shortlists few software vendors, it’s imperative to view the demo of each one of them to check the functionalities and working of the selected softwares. Only when the business is fully knowledgeable about the working and navigation pattern of the said software, it can further carry on the analysis to select the best vendor from the bunch of shortlisted ERP vendors.
Analyze Vendors: The next thing requires business to analyze vendors of different ERP softwares in terms of their offerings. Business needs to compare and evaluate each ERP Software on the basis of its features, price, guarantee given, training and support provided, as well as terms and conditions of each vendor. Business should select the software that suits the requirements, budget and is best in terms of features and other offerings.
Following the above guidelines can help business choose an ideal ERP which enhances growth of business and can be easily integrated with the existing business to allow seamless transition and implementation and help business stay ahead of competition.