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.