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Choosing the right business management solution should maximize the efficiency and productivity of every functional area of your business. In a crowded ERP solution marketplace cluttered with confusing messages, it takes a methodical approach to match the right solution to your business. This involves clearly defining your purpose, assessing your business requirements, and having qualitative and quantitative objectives. It requires an understanding of the baseline technologies you will need to make your investment worthwhile, the common functional components every ERP should include, and the specialty functions and integrations your business needs to consider.
To clear the deck of solutions that you should not consider, we begin with the functional requirements for every small and medium-sized business (SMBs). Any vendor who can't provide the below should be scratched off your list.
Modern systems are integrated, seamless solutions that enable all functional areas of your business to work from the same continually updated data. Your ERP solution must do this to be a centralized business management platform.
The best ERP solutions offer seamlessly integrated modules that enable users to manage grouped tasks and provide all of the information needed for each operation in the same part of the system. This integration of modules allows users to easily work between parts of the system without the feeling of jumping from one software application to another.
Cloud-based ERP architecture provides several critical benefits for small and medium-sized businesses. Economies of scale provide enterprise-grade compliance, security, data backup, and support scaled to the budgets of SMBs. It also allows any time, anywhere access to the system and can work in the office, at home, or on the road. This remote infrastructure reduces IT costs and overall operational expenses for greater cash flow.
Most ERPs you’ll find out there have been developed by financial (accounting) companies with no real understanding of or experience with your particular industry. The developers can build a system that runs properly but not necessarily does what’s needed since they can’t differentiate between what’s important and what’s not important in your business environment. When your technology provider is specific to your industry, it should have a relationship with important industry vendors that can help you better streamline your processes and increase productivity.
Your ERP must be flexible enough to meet your unique business needs and adapt to the changing competitive landscape. Ensure your software provider will still meet your needs as you increase sales, offer additional product lines, or open new locations. Your software needs to scale with your business so that you can be confident that the investment will still pay dividends well into the future. Choose a system that will ensure long-term ROI, keep your business current and agile and costs down, improve efficiency, increase visibility, drive profitable growth, and incorporate new technologies as they become available.
Look for a vendor who is at the forefront of technology and is dedicated to making advancements to improve the way you use your software. Look for a roadmap, inquire about how often the software is updated, and what improvements have been made over the past year.
Download our guidebook How to Determine Your ERP Needs for a list of 11 benefits that you shouldn't run your business without.
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