Industry 4.0 (deemed the fourth industrial revolution) has brought about rapid change and digital transformation. It has also paved the way for businesses to reap the rewards of successful ERP implementations. With process and data automation, integration, increased efficiencies and many other business benefits, the question is no longer whether to invest in ERP Software but rather how best to go about it.
We all appreciate that an ERP system is a large software purchase that costs time, effort and money. So how do you ensure that this investment pays dividends, immediately and into the future?
The short answer lies in partnering with the best ERP software experts. Here are some of the critical factors to consider when deciding on the best ERP fit for your business:
A strong track record of success speaks for itself. Apart from the reasonable expectation of robust industry-proven software and great customer service, you can safely assume that a well-established ERP vendor is here for the long haul, and has a vested interest in your current and future success.
Specialist Industry Knowledge
Every industry has its own set of challenges and every business is unique. By teaming up with an ERP supplier who specializes in your industry, providing an industry-specific solution (rather than a general solution), while embracing and accommodating your uniqueness, you are guaranteed to benefit from the experience and insights of a team of experts who speak your language and understand your business needs. This saves a great deal of time and effort, reduces the amount of customization, and results in a quicker, easier implementation.
Successful ERP Implementation
Technology is only as good as its implementation. Your ERP supplier should have the knowledge and experience to adhere to project management best practices from the outset, with all controls and governance activities strictly managed to ensure that all objectives and expectations are met. Ask to see testimonials from other customers within your industry to ensure that your potential ERP supplier delivers on its promises.
Post-implementation Support, Education and Training
In order to maximize the benefits of your ERP investment, it is imperative to provide your team with adequate ERP support and training. The typical workforce spans three generations, with varying degrees of technological comfort and rates of learning. One cannot expect true competency to be achieved through onsite training alone.
Ongoing vendor support, as well as easy-to-access online CRM training materials and tutorials, are essential to ensuring that your users are able to learn and adopt the new system at their own pace.
Preventing Application Erosion
General belief is that software loses its value over time – and quite often it does. However, the main reason for this, often has nothing to do with the application itself, but with it’s underutilization, due to staff churn or “forgetting” what is available. Your vendor should have the capacity to provide ongoing information on what is available, or coming in a future release; ERP audits; as well as refresher training to ensure that your ERP is continuously used to its full potential.
Of course the system also needs to have the built-in agility to deal with various changes in your company and the market place. The only way to truly gauge the agility of an ERP system is by its own success over time, so opt for an ERP system with a strong track record.