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By Paris for I-NET Dynamics

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are software that streamlines processes from sales and purchasing to inventory, to billing and delivery, by combining different essential parts of your organization under one database.
ERP systems come in various forms and it is important to find the most suitable software to help you reach the organization’s business goals. To achieve this, there are multiple decision points and numerous factors to consider before picking the appropriate ERP system.

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1.Company Goals and Objectives
The primary reason to change to a new ERP system is to support your company’s direction. Be it an immediate requirement like your current accounting system reaching its end of life, or a long term vision for the future, it is essential to review the company’s objectives clearly. Your organization will probably need to review ERP systems soon if you start to see the following trend:
– Human errors from manual processes used to organize and store data may start to go over the acceptable standard.
– Excel spreadsheet doesn’t work with the increasing complexity of the business anymore.

2.Functional Software Requirements
It is easy to identify the general functions that are required in your operations – accounting, human resources, and inventory. But it calls for more than that when choosing an ERP system. Since each ERP systems offered in the market has their own advantages, you might want to identify and give ranking to the functions. You probably will not want to pay half a million for a system that is famous for manufacturing while your business is in the financial industry.

3.Is Customization Necessary?
It is always better to find a suit that fits you perfectly rather than having too much tailors that eventually make the suit completely different from the original form. Having said that, a little bit of shortening or tightening might be necessary to complete the whole “suit up” process.
Likewise, it is no surprise that you might need to face some customization requirement when implementing a new ERP system. Of course the best scenario is to have a system with a standard implementation that can serve almost all of the business’ essential requirement. However, when it is impossible to avoid customization, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
– Do I need to change my business process without this customization?
– Are there any other software that can carry out this function with its standard implementation?
– How will this customization affect the system’s upgrade in the future? (it might double the cost, for example)

4. Deployment Model – Cloud or On Premise ERP?
One major question for when seeking new ERP software is whether to deploy an on premise or a cloud-based ERP system. Each type of deployment has its own unique pricing structure: cloud-based ERP systems demand lower up-front investment since they are paid for on a subscription basis, or pay-as-you-use. On the other hand, with on premise deployment, companies will own the software and of course it comes with higher initial investment.
Some SaaS service providers bundle in other services such as data backup and IT managed services as well and it is worth it to make an informed comparison.
5. Finding a Trusted Partner.
Your ERP provider might be the longest business partner you have for your organization since it is not reasonable to change a whole new system every two to three years.
From study done by Deloitte & Touche, it showed that companies that are buying an ERP system for at least the second time, ranked “level of support by reseller” as number 1 criteria while first time buyer believed the price of the system has the heaviest weight.

Who will implement this system? Who will provide the on-going support and training? These are a few of the most critical questions to answer in the whole ERP “shopping” project. Choose not only a certified partner, but also a partner that you can trust on a daily basis and a partner you believe will be around for at least another 10 years.

There are many other criteria to put under consideration when seeking for a suitable ERP system, such as training or implementation timeline. There are no speeding up this process but once you have chosen the best fit system from a trusting partner, everything else will be much simpler.

With 23 years of experience in implementing the Dynamics GP (Great Plains), i-Net Dynamics has been a certified partner of Microsoft Dynamics GP and continuously provide a world-class service level. For more information on Dynamics GP, click here. For a better understanding about i-Net Dynamics, click here.

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