In the 20+ years since the first cloud ERP system hit the market, the business and technology landscape has changed dramatically. At the same time, global disruptions have accelerated the pace of change, and organizations have changed their business models to remain competitive. Not surprisingly, choosing the right ERP system for your business has also evolved in the cloud era—especially in the last few years.
RGP’s Jim Sauerwein, VP, Business and Technology Services, has had a front row seat for this evolution over 20+ years and provides expert guidance for companies that are implementing this business-critical technology. Read on for Jim’s advice on what to look for when choosing the right system for your business. And download our System Selection Tip Sheet to save and share.
Key Considerations for Today’s Cloud ERP Landscape
Because cloud ERP systems offer little, if any, customization, your options are mostly limited to the software’s out-of-the-box functionality—what you see is what you get. That makes it even more important to consider how well a software provider can meet your requirements.
With that in mind, here are 7 key considerations for selecting the cloud ERP system that’s best for your organization.
1. Partnership and Community
Whereas technology infrastructure and security used to be make or break differentiators, there’s now a lot more emphasis on partnership and community.
- How easy is the vendor to work with?
- What type of support do they provide?
- What do their current customers say about them?
- Do they perform the implementation, or do they use third-party solution integrators (SIs)?
2. Functionality and Ease of Use
Your ERP system is at the core of your business operations, so familiarity breeds contentment—and greater efficiency. Users who are accustomed to a particular platform’s interface will feel more at home in a similar environment, while others might expect the kind of digital-first experience they get consumer platforms such as Amazon.
- What’s the “fit and feel”?
- How easy is it to use and adopt?
- Does it integrate seamlessly with other solutions?
- Does it provide a value-based opportunity that can perform core functionality requirements?
3. Business Processes
With cloud software, the system provider defines the processes, so it’s important to choose a vendor whose processes are a good fit for your business.
- Do your business processes have redundancies, and manual interventions and/or are they error-prone and in need of redesign or replacement?
- Does the vendor provide built-in workflows to enable processes?
- Does the solution provide Business Process Management? Automation can make a business more efficient, but BPM can create a competitive advantage.
4. Scalability and Extensibility
As your company grows, your needs grow. It’s essential to assess a vendor’s capabilities for not only your immediate requirements, but also future needs.
- Does your business strategy include mergers and acquisitions?
- Would you buy a company that has capabilities you don’t have today? For example, would you buy a manufacturing company?
- Do you plan to expand into international regions? Not all software will work in all geos.
- Do you plan to implement additional modules, such as supply chain or EPM, in the next few years?
- Does the solution have adequate reporting and analytics? Not all ERPs have advanced graphic displays, analysis tools or real-time dashboards.
5. Industry and Vertical Strengths
The type of industry you’re in drives many of your business needs and requirements. Standard processes vary a lot from healthcare to manufacturing to energy.
- Does the vendor have experience and expertise with companies like yours?
- Does the system offer features and support processes that are relevant for your industry?
- Can it support industry-adopted KPIs and reporting?
6. Training and User Communities
With cloud software, vendors take on responsibility for training, so the accessibility and quality of training is much more important than it was in the past. A lot of the knowledge sharing now happens in communities.
- What type of training does the vendor offer?
- Is it easy to access training online?
- How much, if anything, does it cost?
- What kind of support does the company provide to its user communities?
7. Systems Ecosystem
Your base ERP system sits at the center of your business technology ecosystem, but it has to integrate with other systems. And depending on your needs, you might even choose different software providers for different functions, such as human capital or supply chain management.
- What other systems/interfaces will the new cloud ERP system need to integrate with? How are they utilized today, and what will you want in a future design?
- How will the data in those systems work together to support your target operating model? The data will require a strategy, preparation, cleansing and a methodology/tool for loading.
- What are the functional application, systems integration, data conversion and reporting requirements?
RGP has supported clients with hundreds of ERP system implementations and upgrades. We can help you with every aspect of system selection, from defining requirements and vendor lists to negotiating contracts and working with the system integrators.
Visit our Cloud ERP Resource Hub for expert guidance for making a smooth move to the cloud. Or get insight into best practices from strategy to go-live and beyond by downloading our comprehensive guide.