You’ve probably been told this a thousand times before, but if you want to learn, you need to ask questions. Because ERP systems are so expansive and their applications so far reaching, there are almost endless questions to ask. From implementation curiosities to questions about software evaluation, here are our top picks for the questions you should be asking during your ERP adventure.
On-premise or in the cloud?
Ah, the great timeless question in IT. While cloud-based systems have become much more popular in recent years, there are a number of reasons why your business may choose to keep your files stored locally. For example: costs, security, and your company’s need for customization may all factor into your decision. On-premise file storage is often considered to be a capital expenditure. Cloud-based file storage is an operating expenditure giving you an additional expense the longer you keep you subscribe to the service. Many ERP solutions providers also offer a hybridization of the two to better accommodate the needs of their clients. Compare on-premise ERP vs. cloud ERP.
What type of support and training does the ERP provider offer?
ERP systems are incredibly complex, so you really don’t need to act like a know it all. You’re bound to run into some snags at some point with your system. We suggest asking what type of support and training the ERP provider can offer. You should make sure that the vendors’ consultants work with you from implementation to the go-live, and for the following few months. You should also make sure that you have a range of options for accessing the consultant’s advice. Complete end-user training should be available through remote, on-site, and classroom sessions to ensure that employees are fully confident using the system.
How can we ensure the implementation project doesn’t exceed the budget?
ERP projects are notorious for blowing past established budgets. In fact, Gartner has said that 57% of all ERP projects cost 189% of the original budget. Yikes. You should try to work with a firm that believes in a fixed-fee billing. This way you’ll know the exact price of the project before you start with the peace of mind of knowing that your system won’t put you in the poor house.
Does the software meet the needs of my business?
Probably the most important question on this list, and for obvious reasons. Most ERP systems worth their salt will be able to function at basic levels. The challenge for you is to find a system that works for your business. If your organization needs to comply with a number of governmental, you need to find a system that will address this. If you’re going to find the right ERP system, then you need to talk to a software vendor that will spend the time to understand your business.
What functionalities will my company actually use?
This question goes hand-in-hand with the question above. ERP solutions these days have the ability to cover essentially every business process you can think of. The question for mid-market organizations is whether or not you need all of those capabilities. Often times, ERP functionalities may be too specialized to be very useful for a company or perhaps a company may have an existing or outsourced feature. The bottom line here is not to pay for features that you’re company doesn’t need or won’t use in the future.