Businesses from across the globe are doing their best to keep up with the evolving digital transformation trends. A lot of companies of different shapes and sizes are on the lookout for new tools that can help them address the challenges in different areas of business. In their quest to find the right software, a lot of businesses lose their way and eventually settle for a solution that is far from what they need.
This article is primarily for business owners and stakeholders who are in the midst of choosing an ERP software solution for their business. Typically, there are multiple stakeholders involved in this process and each of them has its own set of questions and interests. With multiple stakeholders involved, swaying away and losing your way is easy.
To help you avoid getting bogged down in the process, we have compiled a list of questions you should ask your ERP vendor before you take the plunge and purchase one.
Questions you should ask your ERP vendor
1. Does the software use the latest and emerging technologies?
We are all aware of how fast technology is evolving each year. Technologies that are relevant or new today take hardly any time to become obsolete or dated. Having said that, there are many platforms that stand the test of time and offer tremendous value in the long run. A user-friendly, neat, and tidy interface to a multi-level deployment, these traits separate modern ERP solutions from the rest.
So while choosing an ERP, you should ask the vendor if their platform’s software infrastructure leverages the latest and emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Besides, you should also ask how flexible the ERP is and if you can configure it as you scale. In addition, you should also find out the ease with which third-party applications can be integrated with their ERP solution.
2. What are the different costs associated with the product?
Some of the best ERP systems may not be your first choice if the pricing is beyond your budget. This is why it is very essential to understand the pricing of all the functionalities you require. We understand that it is a bit unnerving to talk about money. Having said that it is a good idea to get this discussion out of your way before you waste time talking about other specifications.
When you talk about pricing with the vendor, you should know that there are three different types of costs attached to the ERP. These include:
- The initial costs required to procure and implement the ERP software.
- Ongoing costs are linked with maintenance over its life cycle.
- Costs that you will have to bear to replace your old ERP with a modern ERP tool.
Although the initial and ongoing costs may seem a lot, do not forget to subtract the IT cost that you will be avoiding by replacing legacy software.
3. Types of services available
There is a high possibility that your team is not trained in ERP implementation. Hence, your team will face a lot of challenges at different stages of the entire process. For example, there are applications that need to be configured, employees need to be trained, tests to run, and data to migrate. Since most vendors are aware of this, they also provide implementation, installation, and training support at an additional cost.
If you are a key decision-maker in a small to mid-sized business with limited experience, you may require a vendor’s service at the earliest. When you are comparing different ERP software, you should consider the services offered by different vendors.
Apart from the pricing, you should also consider the different aspects of service such as:
- Overall attentiveness
- Level of expertise
- Response time
Keep in mind that although all vendors have the ability to offer the best technical services. Having said that, vendors offer only the bare minimum when it comes to the process and people aspects of implementation. However, you can fill in these gaps by using the services of an ERP consultant who has business process reengineering and change management expertise.
4. Will you get the latest version of the tool? What are the different features you are getting?
At times, ERP demos can be misleading, which is why it is always recommended to provide vendors with demo scripts. Very often, vendors show you the best and the latest version of the ERP. This means that they may offer a demo of the beta version. However, since things develop rapidly in the SaaS space, a different version of the ERP may be implemented from what was shown in the demo.
Although demo scripts are very important, you should carefully go through the licensing agreement to understand the version which will be given to you.
5. How does the vendor position itself in the market?
When a company has established itself in the market, the same can be reflected in its financial health. It also indicates that the organization is stable and reliable, enabling them to invest more in product development and client servicing.
Typically, the best ERP vendors in the market have these working in favor for them:
- An avid and a loyal customer base
- Top-shelf product
- Accurate financial projections
After all, you would not want to find that your ERP vendor has not managed to attain financial stability and could discontinue your product at any point. This is why you should be aware of the vendor’s market position before you purchase the product.
Ask the right questions to your ERP vendor
Choosing the best software for your organization is a very important part of your ERP project. Here, you cannot afford to select a vendor whose product is not ideal for your company. However, when you ask your ERP vendor the right questions, you can clear all the doubts lingering in your mind.
In addition, you can ensure that your ERP vendor is an ideal match for your company’s requirements. Apart from the actual product, you will also understand the details regarding maintenance and the kind of support offered by your vendor.
Feature Image Source: rawpixel.com
Image 1 Source: rawpixel.com
Image 2 Source: rawpixel.com