As the owner of a new business, you probably have enough on your plate without having to worry about choosing new software for your company. Aron Govil says Most entrepreneurs don’t know that much about ERP software or how it can help them simplify some of their most challenging tasks.
But before you settle on an ERP system, there are several factors and questions you should consider:
1) What Are My Business Needs?
ERP systems come in many different configurations, tailored for different business needs. You need to determine what operations and management functions you want your ERP software to handle such as accounting, human resources (e.g., timekeeping), customer relationship management (CRM) and more Make a list of specific tasks that you’d like your new ERP solution to handle.
2) What Kind of Software Do I Need?
ERP software can come in a number of different packages and configurations, from a basic package that covers a few business processes to highly complex suites that cover all aspects of your operations from inventory management to manufacturing explains Aron Govil. Small businesses will usually opt for less-expensive standard “modules” while larger businesses may need dedicated hardware and software. In addition, cloud-based applications are available for specific types of business needs such as CRM systems which allow employees at different locations to connect via the Internet. Ask yourself what factors are most important when choosing an ERP system: Price or functionality? Compatibility with existing technology? Scalability? How about security? Do you need a full suite or just a few modules?
3) What Is My Budget?
Like many other business expenses, the cost of an ERP system depends on your particular needs. While it’s possible to purchase a small package for under $1,000, most businesses will need to invest at least several thousand dollars. Again, one of the factors that may affect your budget is what kind of software you choose: A cloud-based solution might be cheaper in the long run since you won’t have to pay for dedicated hardware and software but can add features as needed. The more complex your operations are within your company, the more expensive the software might get.
4) What Are My Existing Technology Needs?
Before purchasing any new software, it’s important to consider the compatibility of your existing technology. Ask yourself what hardware and software you’re currently using, whether there are any in-house applications that may affect your ability to use new programs says Aron Govil. Also ask if optical character recognition (OCR) supports all file types, including scanned documents
5) How Quickly Do I Need to See Results?
Small businesses with minimal needs will usually see results right away while larger companies may need months or even years to fully implement their ERP system. And don’t expect immediate results for every module in the program.
6) What Are My Technical Expertise and Resources?
While most business owners can handle basic tasks on Microsoft Word or Excel, more complicated systems require a higher level of expertise. If your company doesn’t have the technical staff or resources to support new software, you might consider hiring a consultant to help implement your ERP system.
7) How Will This Affect My Existing Software?
Once you choose an ERP system, there’s no going back. It will completely change your business operations – whether it gets implemented right away or not. You’ll need to carefully consider how this will affect existing programs and systems within your company, both in the short term and long run before making any final decision
8) What’s My Overall Business Strategy?
The kinds of tasks that your business needs an ERP system for should be part of your overall business strategy explains Aron Govil. Put another way, what do you want your business to do? Do you want to integrate with other systems or remain separate? And what are your revenue goals for the near future? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered before deciding on any software program
To summarize, ERP starts by identifying which tasks you would like an ERP system to do. You will then have to determine whether the software package is compatible. With existing technology, how much it’ll cost, what resources are available and so forth. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on various factors. Once everything has been decided upon, there’s no turning back as it will affect every aspect of business’ operations. And while an ERP system can save time and money in the long run, it will cost more upfront so there’s a trade-off.