5 Things You Should Know When Buying ERP Software


010515 ERP software

Over the last few years, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software has become a compelling and credible delivery model for business applications. In many cases, companies recognize their processes, systems and procedures can be significantly enhanced with the robust functionality delivered by ERP.

When it comes to ERP software, there are special requirements for manufacturers, retailers and distribution businesses in diverse markets from automotive and construction to engineering and lumber — and everything in between. It’s important to determine that the solution not only supports manufacturing, but also your specific manufacturing type. Whether a small business or an enterprise-level company, all strive for the same goal — improved business productivity and business intelligence.

When buying ERP software and seeking a solution is on the horizon for your business, keep these helpful tips in mind:

Seek Professionalism!

Your ERP implementation provider will be your ERP partner. Start your process by researching the best ERP implementation sources available to you. The best ERP partners deliver ongoing training and support resources, dedicated to determining a positive implementation process. The right ERP partner will not support your implementation on a selective basis — but will offer a 24/7 partnership. ERP partners that support a methodology of training and support are dedicated to the technological advancement of your business.

Flexibility Powers Functionality!

Your ERP solution needs to be flexible, modular and open — a comprehensive solution that delivers not only productivity, but scalability, for your business operations. The best ERP systems are those with open module architecture and support for everything from purchase management and project management to customer relationship management (CRM) and accounting and finance management.

Do Robust Research!

Research the business architecture of your ERP selection — and look for strong planning, forecasting, data warehousing, contact management, marketing management, mobile business intelligence, security management and risk management attributes. The greater the functionality — the greater the productivity gains for your enterprise.

Scrutinize Business Intelligence!

Powerful business intelligence drives the best ERP solutions on the market today. Not all ERP solutions share the same intelligence — scrutinize the brain power of your ERP selections and target the academic achievers! While most ERP systems today do an adequate to competent job at efficiently processing transactions, there is a difference in the management of your data — some systems are simply better than others at delivering your data to you in a way that supports growth analysis. When it comes to ERP selection, shop for the best business productivity software!

Imagine Rapid Adoption!

The ERP solution you choose should be designed for easy end-user adoption. Your employees must become familiar and comfortable with working in your new ERP system — and fully utilizing its functionality. If the ERP system you select delivers a high standard in user engagement readiness, your enterprise will be fast on its way to better data optimization and project management in no time — with the added bonus of a more productive and engaged workforce.

ERP Photo via Shutterstock

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Angela Nadeau


Angela Nadeau Angela Nadeau is CEO of CompuData, an award-winning business technologies leader. Angela maintains a deep knowledge of the trends driving businesses today to be more productive and profitable by leveraging technology. With more than 25 years of expertise, she has advised thousands of businesses on effective ways to leverage technology to increase productivity, profitability and efficiency – guiding businesses of all sizes to new levels of market success and corporate growth.

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  1. Angela you hit the nail on the head with this:

    “Your ERP solution needs to be flexible, modular and open — a comprehensive solution that delivers not only productivity, but scalability, for your business operations. The best ERP systems are those with open module architecture and support for everything from purchase management and project management to customer relationship management (CRM) and accounting and finance management.”

    Rigid and non-integrated systems cannot evolve as the business grows. A lot of people like to skip costs by creating a patchwork of applications but the loss of revenues from missed opportunities AND the time wasted operating this way makes them in the end MORE expensive than if they simply implemented an ERP system early on. This is one of the things I have observed the most when clients implement our ERP (Odoo). http://www.odoo.com

  2. The single most important thing in a successful ERP implementation is user buy in. You don’t get that by selecting the software and then telling the people who’ll be using it what they need to do. You need to create an ERP software selection team comprised of a member of management, someone knowledgeable about ERP systems/implementation, and representatives from the areas impacted. I’ve been involved in successful and unsuccessful implementations and having the users involved in the selection decision making, not just during the implementation, is crucial. It takes a lot of extra effort from all areas involved to implement an ERP system and you don’t get willing participants by imposing a system on them.

    Another factor is the utilization of consultants. ERP implementations usually require consulting assistance. If you have consulting assistance in the selection of the software, they may not be familiar enough with the software selected to be the best ones to assist during the implementation phase. Also, implementation consulting firms will usually WOW you with their best and brightest and then send in people with less experience later. If you allow this you’re going to be training their people for them while paying them for the experience. It also means you’ll need to educate the replacement consultants about your corporate environment, what decisions made previously, ect. There’s also the issue of your team having to learn to relate to the new people. I’ve found that continuity clauses for consultants, with penalties for switching personnel, help to reduce (but not eliminate) this practice.

    Many ERP implementations fail, but getting user buy-in/support and keeping valuable team members onboard for the whole implementation can go a long way towards making your implementation successful.

  3. Also, usability is far more important than anything. One software can have great features but if it is hard to use, it is useless.

  4. Good advice, ERP solution is one captivating technology that has to be implemented in business by knowing its flexibility and different uses. I work with McGladrey and this piece on ERP security will interest readers. http://bit.ly/mcgldrysapaudt

  5. Angela,

    Very informative!

  6. Very good article, it shows all the reasons why organizations should always choose a well respected vendor who fully understands their business processes and not something that is cheap and written on the fly!

  7. Great article on an important subject! I agree with Bob on user buy-in. We find when working with our clients on ERP selection projects that involvement up front is critical to successful implementation. Staff can get very creative at avoiding an ERP system when they weren’t part of the decision, and morale can take a big hit. Also, if inaccurate information is entered or not entered timely, the investment made in the ERP system becomes painful instead of useful.

    There are different types of consultants. Vendor independent consultants are very helpful when selecting software, and can also be quite useful in managing the implementation project, acting as a knowledgeable client representative and project managing both internal staff and vendor implementation resources. We find that while ERP vendors and implementers often provide project management, it is usually limited to their own team and to providing due dates on client deliverables, as opposed to actually advising day-to-day. The vendors should and do provide the configuration and implementation advice on the particular software – they are the experts on that.

  8. Angela Nadeau

    Thank you for your comments! I agree that ERP implementation partnership and employee buy-in are vital! As a business focuses on the power of its ERP solution’s management and control functions, it should never lose sight of the system’s ability to engage its employees with easy to handle tools. If the ERP system selected delivers a high standard in user engagement readiness, an enterprise will be fast on its way to better data optimization and project management with an engaged workforce. Thanks for reading my thoughts on ERP software selection. I will be sharing on CRM, SocialCRM, cloud hosting trends and technologies and managed IT services too. Please visit me at CompuData, http://www.compudata.com and check out our blog! Thanks again!

  9. Yes indeed – your implementation partner is more important than the ERP software you choose. Evaluate BOTH carefully.

  10. Great article Angela. I think it’s also worth pointing out that within research, it’s important to understand how ERP works, allowing the company to get the most out of their chosen ERP software. We’ve put an article together then goes through the important of understanding ERP: http://www.erpcentral.co.uk/blog/using-erp-without-the-stabilisers/

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