How to know when to look at a new ERP system

By - July 30, 2014

Many companies have turned to RSM over the years to help them evaluate the selection of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. One of the primary questions that come up is a readiness assessment to determine if the organization is ready for a change. In this post I hope to be able to raise some questions that should be considered to determine your readiness to take the next step in your ERP selection process.

  1. What is your firm’s corporate strategy? This might seem like an obvious place to start, but we find that many companies aren’t as clear as they need to be when linking the overall corporate strategy to the selection process of its technology. The overall theme of this post will be to have a plan on how to engage in the selection process, so as you read feel free to start writing down some of your thoughts on alignment between your corporate strategy and the technology used to accomplish your goals and objectives. The thought here is to ask the question: where will technology help your company strategically?
  2. Where do you have the most pain? As you reflect on your business, think about the topics that are on the top of your mind constantly. What keeps you up at night? Everything is fair game here; security, reporting, IT infrastructure, expanding to a global market, social, E-commerce, mobility, customer satisfaction, etc. The primary objective to evaluate in this question is if technology can help overcome these pain points.
  3. What are your objectives? What are you looking to accomplish with a new ERP system. Think in terms of processes or process improvements. Many of the mid-market customers that we work with are growing out of a basic solution like QuickBooks or Peachtree and are looking for a solution that can give them a unified platform to expand their business. Are there holes or gaps that you’d like to shore up in your lead to cash process? Are you able to get real-time access into your inventory?
  4. What are your customers/suppliers demanding? When was the last time you took a pulse or survey of your customers and suppliers to ask how you’re performing? This is an easy way to determine how well you are serving your channels and to look for improvements. You’ll be surprised at what you might find out in these conversations.
  5. What is your current platform? In order to conduct an efficient evaluation of a new ERP platform, you should already understand the trends of technology and where the strengths and weaknesses lie. There’s the old saying, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. That can be a very relevant conversation to have. Many companies are getting a lot of pressure to move their applications to the cloud, and while it’s true that you’ll eventually need to move towards the cloud, your business might not be best suited to do it today. A real conversation to have is how you can leverage and extend your current technology investment.

While there’s nothing really new here with these questions, I hope it has helped you frame your mindset into how your organization can increase speed and agility to better serve your customers.

RSM is a trusted advisor to mid-market companies helping them select the right ERP solution at the right time. If you’d like to discuss your current business applications, contact us on our website to have one of our representatives reply with more information.

By: Brent Knowles – National NetSuite Solution Provider

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