The Best Advice for Successful ERP Software Evaluation

4 key considerations for evaluating and choosing a new ERP solution

Sponsored by Stoneridge Software

Top-of-mind for many company leaders today is how to stay competitive with digital transformation and strategy. Your organization might be considering how to take your current processes and convert them to the latest technology to improve connectivity and productivity, stay competitive and increase profits. How do you know when the time is right for you and what’s the best process to evaluate the software solutions that will help you achieve those goals?

Digital transformation considerations can become particularly overwhelming when considering integrated accounting and operations solutions, otherwise known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. If you haven’t been through a transformation before, you won't necessarily know where to start. Here are some tips for helping you decide on the right time and know where to begin:

Is it the right time to upgrade your accounting & operations software?

The first answer to this question is that there is no perfect time for any company to switch ERP solutions. But waiting too long can put you and your team in some dire circumstances if everything is not functioning efficiently. Good leaders begin their planning with ample time to evaluate and choose the right solution and prepare the team for change. Here are few red flags to let you know it might be time:

  • Productivity is on the decline – Some telltale signs might be: your employees are constantly MacGyvering workarounds for systems that aren’t doing the job, using manual processes or managing multiple separate systems.
  • Limited line of sight into business performance – Ask yourself if you know what’s happening in your company in real time?  Do you have to wait until month end financials to have any kind of picture on how your business is doing
  • Your existing solution is entirely on premise –  If you have the right team and data center, on premise is a good answer. If that’s not the case, you should consider moving to a cloud-based solution that is backed by the highest levels of security. 

You’ve decided to evaluate ERP software, what’s the best way to go about it?

If you’ve read through the points above and decided the time is near for you to begin ERP evaluation, there are different approaches an organization can take. Some companies use a selection consultant to help guide them through the process and others will launch an investigation with an internal team. Either way it’s best to take a step back and be sure your company and the leadership team are looking clearly at the whole picture and considering four important areas before coming to a conclusion.

In order to make the best long-term decision for your company you must give consideration to each of the dimensions listed below. In my experience as a project manager, consultant and company leader I have seen cases where an imbalance amongst these has greatly reduced the chances for a successful implementation.

Key considerations for evaluating and choosing a new ERP solution:

1. Industry/Fit

This is important in that you’ll want to know if the software already includes much of the functionality you’ll need in order for it to work without having to be heavily customized.

2. Platform

Be sure you understand the current technology to evaluate if it will fit within your infrastructure, be scalable for the future and that there is a product roadmap for ongoing investments in the solution.

3. Implementer

This is often overlooked, but it’s the most important. You need to understand your ERP implementer’s track record and approach to make sure this project is going to be successful. This is key if you want your project to be on-budget and completed. A good product demo does not always equal a good delivery.

4.  Cost

The idea of going with the lowest cost solution as the highest priority can be dangerous. Ask yourself why it is the least expensive? It might be missing some key functionality, be built on an old platform or worse. You could be hooked at a low introductory rate, only to have your renewal and maintenance fees spike in following years, negating the low cost of the initial purchase price.

If you’re noticing some red flags or are deciding it’s time to upgrade or move software solutions, consider these four key areas as part of your ERP software evaluation process. You’ll greatly increase your chances for a positive outcome.

There are many moving parts to ERP software evaluation. If you’d like to learn more or need guidance anywhere along the way, contact Stoneridge Software at 612-354-4966 or download our FREE ERP Evaluation Tool Kit, packed with advice and practical tools to assist you on your journey.

Stoneridge SoftwareStoneridge Software is a unique kind of Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM partner, with emphasis on partner. Based in Minnesota, we focus on attracting the most knowledgeable experts in the field to our team, and prioritize delivering stellar solutions with maximum business impact for your business. At Stoneridge, we are deeply committed to your results, and intentionally “step into your shoes,” focus on what you care about, and develop trusting, long-term relationships with our clients.