Choose Right not the BEST Business Software

Often people ask me, what’s the best ERP software? And my answer is “None”. It is impossible to rate any single ERP software as Best software. Many companies end up choosing business software based on brand or price which often turns out to be WRONG CHOICE.

So how do you go about choosing the RIGHT software (AND NOT THE BEST ONE).

Buying business software is quite similar to buying a new car, it could be overwhelming in most cases. All car has 4 wheels, but all cars aren’t the same. Choosing software (or car for that matter) from hundreds if not thousands of available options could be extremely confusing and exhausting.

Here are 5 tips to simplify your business software selection.

Consider all your current business requirements

Before you even think of any specific software, ask yourself what exactly you are expecting from it. Why do you need one? How new software is going to improve your business? What problem do you want to solve?

Having a clear idea about your current needs and wants would make software selection process much easier. Few companies take help from seasoned professionals or independent consultants in the software selection process where they prepare a comprehensive business case for Software implementation. Due to lack of time and resources, SMB’s don’t seem to be taking that path.

Even if you are not able to create such detailed business case or RFP for software vendors, having a ready list of pain points & your Software Implementation goals would certainly help you in identifying right business software.

Consider future needs & make wishlist

Usually Business software investments are huge and there is no easy way back after investing in the wrong one. You’ll have to make sure the chosen software not only fulfil current needs but is capable to scale as your business grows. You could find that some features are not necessary at the moment, but you could hit a roadblock earlier than you expected if future requirements are not considered in the software selection phase.

Some software takes a modular approach where other offers all-in-one functionality. Assess software for both current and future business needs.

Evaluate & Decide – Buying vs Renting

Cloud Vs On-premise has been a hot topic in the business software industry over the last few years. Although more and more business moving towards cloud, deciding what suits your need is more important. Cloud and on-premise, both have pros and cons.

SaaS solutions can certainly take some burden off the cash flow but could turn out to be expensive in long run. Whereas on-premise deployment can give you better control over your data and how everyone accesses information as well overall management of system.

But also remember, the third option exists. If you don’t wish to invest in hardware infrastructure & spend on related costs, you may decide to opt for private cloud where cloud service provider lease infrastructure to you, but you keep control of your application & data.

Making your mind about deployment early on will make product shortlisting easier.

Get feedback from Industry peers

Although you don’t necessarily have to drive the same car as your neighbours, getting feedback from your industry peers for business software could be valuable for your project.

Most software vendors build industry-specific solutions which have out of the box features and addresses the requirement of that industry. Choosing software that is used by companies from your industry would make implementation smoother as most processes should be built out of the box and shouldn’t require much customization.

Numbers Matter – Calculate TCO & Potential ROI

Again, think long-term and know the total cost of ownership for each shortlisted software. If you’re leaning towards cloud solution, calculate total subscription fees for at least 5 years. Also identify implementation fees, annual support charges, customization related costs or even addition of new modules & user licenses.

If you’re planning to deploy new software on own infrastructure, consider new hardware requirements or upgrades, cost of database software, implementation fees, maintenance of hardware etc.

Choosing software with lowest TCO would not always be beneficial in long run but tie this number back to your GOALS and see how you could achieve maximum returns with the lowest cost of ownership.

Prioritizing needs is key here.

Also, you must know these 5 things before initiating your ERP or any other business software project.

If you find these tips helpful, please like & share this post with your network. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts & experience. So please share them in comments below.

Important Things to know before Implementing ERP

You have seen your business evolving & growing over the period and has reached the stage where you think it needs to be more organized.

Congratulations, this is a great place to be in.

You’re thinking about adopting tools like ERP software but not sure how to go about implementation and ensuring your project will be successful.

We think you should consider below things before starting your ERP journey.

First thing first, don’t consider this as merely IT Project

Although ERP is often considered as IT Investment, it is not the same as buying a piece of hardware or installing some productivity software. ERP is going to touch almost every corner of your business. Most people in your team and the way they work would be affected by this change. Bringing all member of your team in this project would certainly help you in getting the best out of your investment. So, treat this as a business transformation initiative and engage everyone.

ERP Project requires careful planning

ERP projects fail due to poor planning. It’s not only about ERP consultants schedule & onsite visits or number of days of training would be conducted. ERP Project requires planning of time, resources & budget.

You must consider, how much time will be spent with consultants for discussing current and proposed business processes, how much time is required in preparing or cleansing data which will be migrated to new system, when is the best time to switch from legacy system to new software, what would be investment in infrastructure (e.g. buying new server)

You should also consider other planned or unplanned events that could affect the timelines of your project. E.g. Your sales force are attending the annual conference of your industry or upcoming holidays when some of your team members would be out of office.

In Richard Marcinko words, More you sweat in Training, Less you bleed in combat.

ERP project requires efforts from both you and your ERP Consultants. You will have to keep motivating your team and yourself throughout the project as there will be a lot of work to be done. Be it conducting requirement gathering sessions or preparing master data or reading & approving project documentation or even training your staff for that matter. To avoid any potential pitfalls, you must work on strategy and plan your resources accordingly.

Not only ERP evaluation or selection but also the implementation of new software takes time. There are many tasks involved in executing the ERP project and most of them are dependent on each other. On average ERP project in small businesses takes 4-6 months, therefore, setting right expectations about Go live date is crucial.

Prioritize Business Process Improvements Over Software Features

Most ERP Softwares are built on basis of industry best practices or at least has developed based on industry experience. Leveraging that experience and adapting to standard processes would be much benefit in a long run. This would also help you in streamlining your business and avoiding costly software customizations.

Whether you’re implementing ERP for the first time or you want to do a better job than previous software implementation project, you must keep this list in mind. This will help you ensure your project is completed on time and deliver benefits to your organization. In case you need assistance with gathering and documenting business needs, preparing ERP blueprint or Implementing complete solution, Evomatiq has got you covered. You can learn more about how we could help your business here.