NetSuite ERP delivers the proven, comprehensive financial management capabilities required to grow a changing, complex business. NetSuite ERP takes your business beyond traditional accounting software by streamlining operations across your entire organization and providing you with the real-time visibility you need to make better, faster decisions.
Epicor Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software includes solutions for customer relationship management (CRM), manufacturing operations, supply chain management (SCM), human capital management (HCM) and more. Highly flexible and scalable, Epicor ERP systems can be deployed to fit your unique operational needs, resources, and budget, including on-site installation, hosted, or as a SaaS or Cloud application. You simply determine the deployment model that is right for your organization.
Cloudsuite Industrial SyteLine is a single system of business process modules covering: Customer Relationship Management, Sales Order Management, Product and Process Engineering, Resource Planning, Supply Chain Planning and execution, multi-mode manufacturing execution, Quality Management, Aftermarket Service Management, Financial Management, Enterprise Performance Management, Reporting and Analysis, Human Capital Management, Technology Web/ Dot Net / SQL (Embedded Development Framework), MS Office Solutions Integration.
abas ERP provides a fully integrated ERP solution ideally suited to mid-size manufacturing and distribution companies that increases productivity, reduces costs and grows opportunities. Key modules of the software include: Sales Management CRMAdvanced Planning and Scheduling / APSPurchasingProduction Planning and Control (PPC)Materials ManagementService ProcessingFinancials and AccountingBusiness Intelligence and AnalyticsDocument Management Mobile ProcessesEDI and High-Performance LogisticsProcess Control and Workflow ManagementMulti-Company AccountingMulti-SiteProject ManagementIn addition to a robust standard feature set, abas ERP makes it simple across the board to adapt your system to your own business processes. And the best part? With abas, when you customize your system, you can still upgrade hassle free. abas ERP’s multi-tiered architecture, which separates your customizations from the business and database layers of the system, allows for smooth upgrades from older versions of the software. The independent components eliminate the need for rewriting previously developed custom programs, screens, and reports.
Odoo ERP, formerly OpenERP, is the #1 open-source ERP platform and integrated business app suite in the world. With Accounting, Manufacturing, Service, Inventory, Marketing, Retail, eCommerce and many more apps Odoo is winning over more traditional ‘big name’ competitors. As a trusted partner of Odoo, Vayam delivers top-notch consulting, service and support for your critical business projects.Inventory Supply Chain:Manage your supply chain, vendors, purchasing inventory in one easy, customizable app:Forecasting automated fulfillment.Vendor/Supplier Management.Purchase order processing.Goods receipt and warehouse management.Inventory management.Barcode, RFID, labeling support.Seamless integration with Accounting, Sales, Manufacturing, Maintenance more!Manufacturing Maintenance:Manufacturing and/or maintenance applications that support and improve your business processes:Monitor workflow status.Make better decisions through insightful analytics.Reduce costs by eliminating inefficient processes.Provide maintenance manufacturing instructions, documents videos.Integrate Sales CRM, e-Commerce Retail, Vendors, Inventory more!Retail e-Commerce: Need more than the basic e-Commerce website? We create modern, full-featured e-Commerce and Retail websites and back-end systems:Full customized, mobile friendly e-Commerce sites.User friendly Point-of-Sale (POS) for brick-and-mortar.Barcode, RFID, labeling support.Integration with Amazon, Ebay Magento.Built-in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).Custom reports and analytics.Shipping integration for UPS, USPS, Fedex, DHL.Seamless integration with Products, Inventory, Customers, Order tracking more!Sales Customer Relationship Management (CRM):Manage and monitor your most vital relationships with potential and existing customers insuring follow-through and improved communication:Manage contact Information, action items, important notes, and client meetings.Improve leads, opportunities, qualifications and management of contacts.Help control prospect-to-win pipeline.Monitor sales performance against targets and goals.Dashboards and reporting to easily manage your teams and make better decisions.Establish better process flows and guidance for client facing teams.Increase ability for add-on sales.Manage marketing campaigns, newsletters, surveys, and online forms.Employees Human Resources:With Odoo HR, Recruiters and Management can manage employees like never before. Odoo helps recruit, onboard, train, engage monitor employees by providing:A communication portal for your whole team – organize discussions around products, services and more.Automated messages to keep employees informed and help manage vital processes for your business.Full-featured Recruiting app: easily post jobs, manage candidates, resumes and interviews.Quick access to vital Employee data: contact info, job titles, vacation schedule, meetings.Tools to manage timesheets, vacations, holidays, and expenses.Easy to build Employee Evaluation/Appraisal forms.Employee Engagement Customer Feedback Surveys with automated result reports.Easy to create manage new hire onboarding and ongoing employee training material.Automated and customizable reports and analytics.
The IQMS Manufacturing ERP system is a comprehensive, end-to-end solution that provides complete integration and visibility of the order to cash process. The extensive feature set allows manufacturing companies to react instantly to events happening throughout their organization, from the front office to engineering to the shop floor and supply chain. IQMS provides the visibility, planning and execution tools that enable manufactures to excel.
As a top-class ERP system, SYSPRO 7 helps businesses to really look at all aspects of their core operations and other parts of their businesses. Part of the functionality of this ERP solution is focused on sales processes. Most companies need to have some sort of oversight of internal sales and marketing processes. The leadership wants to tie these elements of business into actual product and service developments, and other parts of a general business administration system through functional ERP systems.
Apprise® ERP is a fully-integrated, enterprise-wide solution designed specifically for the consumer goods industry – built to fit the needs of importers and distributors that market or manufacture fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as toiletries and cosmetics, non-durable goods such as food, wine and apparel, or durable goods like electronics and home furnishings.
Enterprise Business Systems software that is easy to work with. ForeMost works the way your business works today. A complete suite of applications that easily integrates with accounting, payroll, reporting, business intelligence software, .NET, Web Services, and SQL Systems. You must see ForeMost if you are considering upgrading your business systems software! Our Foremost ERP Fund Based Accounting Solution facilitates Integrated, Grant Based, Cost Accounting!
QAD Enterprise Applications has been a leading ERP solution for global manufacturers in the automotive, high-tech, food and beverage, consumer, industrial and life sciences industries for several decades. QAD Enterprise Applications supports multiple local languages and country-specific business practices and legal requirements. QAD Enterprise Applications’ domain architecture enables you to easily configure ERP to match your organizational structure including support for shared services.
Our market niche is focused on financials only and spans all three market segments: small, medium and large enterprise organizations. Multiview clients reside in over 40 industries, with many being listed on one of the major north american stock exchanges (nyse, nasdaq, amex or the tsx). Multiview is a unique supplier in this market because our products are industrial strength with enormous functionality and the ability to handle large transaction volumes, yet very affordable. Our goal and motivation is the successful implementation of our products. Over time, we have established ourselves as a premier solution for small, medium and enterprise organizations looking for quality software and a supplier who can execute. Our forte is superior reporting! Multiview has, with our viewpoint reporting environment, a single tool that offers: financial, bi analytics, ad hoc reporting inquiry all driven by a point and click/drag and drop interface.
For over 30 years, Chempax has been helping Chemical Process Manufacturers and Chemical Distributors cut costs, improve operational efficiency and make better decisions faster. Combining the latest technological innovations with our chemical industry expertise, Chempax address you unique requirements of your industry and offers total integration for the daily demands of your business with powerful functionality options. Chempax is the ready to use solution that is seamlessly integrated allowing you to see rapid ROI without missing a beat.
As a particular kind of innovative ERP software, IFS Applications helps deliver its functionality to businesses with a lot of business process complexity and precision requirements. IFS Applications is popular in industries like manufacturing and aerospace, as well as the oil and gas industry.
Single, simple solution for job shops, contract and a variety of make-to-order manufacturers. Comprehensive ERP that includes everything from estimating and quoting to scheduling, purchasing, shipping, customer management (CRM) and accounting.Using Quickbooks currently for Accounting? No problem. E2 Shop System is Gold Certified through Intuit and we offer a superb integration so you don’t have to change your accounting system. Shoptech Software offers exceptional implementation assistance so you’re up and running quickly. The Support Team has received top notch reviews from Customers.
BQE Core is an integrated cloud-based solution that offers business accounting, time tracking, project management, and business intelligence. Core supports a wide range of industries, including accounting, architect firms, engineering, legal services and many more. You can access BQE Core from any browser or device and experience full functionality, the native mobile apps includes iPhone and Android devices. Core also carries over 200 customizable report templates to generate different invoice types from; retainer, recurring, hourly, fixed, per complete and more.
Over 9,000 customers are moving their organizations forward with Sage Intacct’s best-in-class ERP financials. How can we help you? By automating your accounting processes, so you can stop worrying about merely keeping up with growth. And increasing your total business visibility, so you can start deciding how to drive growth. Why? Because Sage Intacct is 100% invested in meeting the needs of the finance team, 100% focused on customer success, and 100% committed to the cloud. That’s who we are, and always will be. Grow better every day with Sage Intacct.
The ProcessPro ERP software suite tackles your mission-critical business functions while linking all of your information through integrated business intelligence functionality. Gain total visibility – in real-time – to all your information so you can run more efficiently and grow more profitable. ProcessPro Premier helps batch process manufacturing companies like yours by organizing and tracking your manufacturing process, planning and execution, inventory management, quality assurance, FDA compliance, financials, sales, and more.
Unit4 Business World On! is a cloud ERP solution that enables service-centric organizations in the public and private sectors to gain a significant advantage over their peers. Its leading-edge architecture facilitates faster innovation at a lower cost and with less disruption. The result is more opportunity and smarter operations.
BatchMaster ERP is an end to end, tier one ERP solution that is built upon the SAP Business One platform and designed to meet the unique needs of formula-based, process manufacturers. Key process functionality supported includes R D Lab, Samples, Formulation, Production, Quality, Compliance, Costing, Planning and Scheduling plus Mobile Warehousing. Accounting, sales, purchasing, maintenance, inventory, customer service and other front office processes have all been enhanced to better support the needs of process manufacturers. Our comprehensive industry specific solutions for food, chemical, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical manufacturers enable our customers to streamline their operations, reduce overall costs and ensure quality and compliance. BatchMaster ERP can be deployed as an on-premise or in the cloud solution.
Fishbowl Manufacturing (FBM) offers advanced work orders, manufacture orders, bills of materials, and other tools you need to maximize efficiency in your production process. Whether you have simple or more complex manufacturing needs, Fishbowl Manufacturing is a great solution for you. FBM integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and with Xero, a Web-based accounting solution
VAI's technology roadmap, our shared vision with IBM, provides companies with a business model based on best industry processes that leverages technology to create value and improve performance. The S2K family of products includes solutions for Distribution, Manufacturing, Retail, Service, and Rental companies; with industry specific features for Durable Goods, Apparel, and Pharmaceutical.
Sage Live is an integrated cloud accounting solution. Sage has created a next generation cloud accounting solution that empowers small and medium businesses to achieve their ambition by reducing the time spent on low-value tasks. By offering full integration with Salesforce and thousands of other business apps, Sage Live enables businesses to benefit from a single real-time source of information so they can manage efficiently their business.
Thrive in a world of mass customization with Infor LN. More than 4,500 manufacturers trust LN to help improve, accelerate, and streamline the most complex manufacturing processes anywhere. When your manufacturing operation requires detailed tracking of millions of parts from thousands of sources worldwide from as-designed to as-maintained, you can rely on Infor LN.
The Enterprise 21 ERP system is a fully-integrated ERP system for small and mid-market manufacturing and distribution organizations. Designed to facilitate industry best practices, Enterprise 21 includes comprehensive software functionality to manage the enterprise’s complete business operations.
FinancialForce Professional Services Automation (PSA) is a cloud based services solution that leverages the power of Salesforce CRM and Force.com to manage your people, customers, projects and financials in one integrated services management application.
FinancialForce Financial Management can accommodate the most diverse and complex financial needs. The perfect complement to Salesforce CRM, it brings back office data to the front, allowing companies to align sales, services and finance on a single cloud. It includes advances like a single ledger design and a multidimensional chart of accounts, which give you real-time business intelligence and help shorten period close cycles.
Epicor Eagle N Series is a fully-integrated retail management system, with built-in best practices, designed for small to mid-sized businesses. Thousands of customers rely on Epicor Eagle N Series to operate more efficiently and grow revenue and profits.
Infor CloudSuite Industrial (Syteline) helps manufacturers and distributors of all types improve productivity and respond faster to change. From selling and sourcing to production and fulfillment, this robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution provides organization-wide visibility. Organizations of all shapes and sizes from small to those larger companies with highly complex supply chains are able to cut costs and ensure on-time production and delivery by using Infor CloudSuite Industrial to automate and manage key business processes, implement highly efficient process flows, and better match supply with demand.
Infor M3 offers ultimate flexibility in operations, technology, and scale. As a multi-site, multi-country, and multi-company solution, M3 empowers your organization to adapt to changing business needs. It provides flexibility in managing mixed-mode and complex environments, with the agility to make quick adjustments at any time. Written in Java, M3 also gives you platform independence and choice.
Epicor Prophet 21—Technology that Drives Growth for DistributorsEpicor understands that meeting your customers’ expectations and demands is getting increasingly complex. As you strive to improve business performance, achieve growth, and maximize profitability, your customers continue to demand faster, more accurate service, more product and service options, and better overall quality. The Epicor® Prophet 21® system has been consistently helping wholesale distributors meet these challenges. In fact, Epicor has 5 times as many second-time ERP buyers than the industry at large. Distributors who know what they need buy Epicor.Today, you need a software solution that is based on a platform that you can implement quickly without substantial cost to your business. The Prophet 21 system is designed so that your distribution business can scale, adapt, and grow without costly system modifications.Beyond the technology, only Epicor can provide complete business digitization along with the refined distribution expertise that comes from 50 years of industry experience and hundreds of committed employees with deep domain expertise. With more than 1,600 wholesale distribution customers throughout the world using the Prophet 21 system, Epicor is one of the leading technology partners for the distribution industry.
How to Find the Best-Fit ERP Software
By Louis Columbus, Director, Global Cloud Platform Management & Cloud Services; Adjunct Professor, Webster University; Forbes Contributor
Gartner predicts the worldwide ERP market will reach $31.8B in 2016, increasing to $34.3B in 2017. Cloud ERP systems are the fastest growing segment of the worldwide market, having surpassed on-premise ERP systems sales in 2015.
Why do organizations need and use ERP software?
- Gain a company-wide view of accounting and financial performance
- Gain higher levels of efficiency achieved due to integrated business processes
- Improve on-time deliveries leading to higher customer satisfaction
- Improve marketing & sales strategies with a 360-degree view of the customer
- Improve supplier quality and delivery performance
- Make Inventory Turns more profitable with accurate sales and production forecasts
- Reduce operating costs by eliminating duplicate processes
- Reduce order errors by building the right product & delivering on schedule
Start with your company’s goals and objectives, and take into account any future businesses your company plans on launching in the next five years when starting your search for an ERP system. It’s important to choose one that can scale with your business needs as you grow. Many companies are moving into early new businesses today and are looking for an ERP system that can keep pace and scale with their expansion goals. Be sure to consider cloud-based ERP providers, many of who have greater agility and quicker development cycles than their larger competitors. PWC predicts that net new license revenues for traditional ERP systems have been declining since 2013 to a level that has already been surpassed by total revenues from cloud-based SaaS solutions.
Key features to consider when evaluating ERP software options
Expertise In Your Industry
For many companies selecting an ERP system is the most expensive IT decision they will make. The most important criteria to use in narrowing down your company’s list of ERP software providers is previous experience and expertise in your industry. There’s no one-size-fits-all ERP system that can scale to the nuances and unique requirements of your business. Your company is unique, and you need to find the ERP software providers who understand the unique needs and nuances of your business and industry and translate them into an ERP system that delivers you a competitive advantage. In selecting an ERP software provider, find those who have a successful track record of translating your industry’s specific needs into scalable features. Second, see if there are any customer references you can speak with in your industry, and arrange calls with them. Third, attend ERP providers’ user conferences if possible and talk with customers in your industry and across their entire base.
Professional Services Track Record
Interpreting specific business and strategy requirements then translating them into a reliable, scalable ERP system that can flex and grow as your business does is what ERP providers’ professional services teams do. Professional services implementation costs for small to mid-size implementations cost between two to four times the cost of software alone. When evaluating an ERP software provider, get a call scheduled with VP of Professional Services and find out which customers are going live soon and which are already launched most like your business. What’s the average length of time it takes for a project to go live? What is their approach or methodology to ensure customers’ needs are included in system design to the screen level? Can customers manage the user interface or does everything have to go through professional services? Be sure to get these questions answered at the onset to make sure expectations are on the same level with ERP providers you are evaluating.
Committed To Usability As a Design Goal
The ERP providers that deserve to be on your short list are making ongoing investments to improve the usability of their applications and improve the overall user experience. ERP systems are known to be the most challenging to learn and use, and with the emphasis on user adoption driving today’s ERP providers’ business models, improving usability is critical to their growth. Finding out how committed the ERP providers you’re evaluating are to delivering excellent usability starts with demos and progress to seeing actual, live customer implementations. Ask to see the last three versions of the ERP system to see if there is progress being made on the user interface and navigation. Ask for and get product demos that illustrate how the ERP systems you’re evaluating complete the top five workflows most important to your business. For an excellent overview of this and other aspects of the challenges of implementing ERP systems please see the working paper, Challenges in Implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in Large Organizations: Similarities and Differences Between Corporate and University Environment from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Platforms available to ERP providers are proliferating accelerated by rapid the development in cloud platforms. Early in your review cycle of ERP providers, find out which platform(s) they support and are planning to. Finding this out will help to plan your ERP internal roadmap, ensuring no interruption to your business when platforms change, or new ones are introduced. ERP providers are actively competing against each other to deliver the richest set of application functionality, integration options, usability enhancements and performance improvements. When evaluating ERP providers ask to see the platform roadmap. Be sure also to ask if the platform is based on proprietary code or an open architecture that scales to support expansion as your business changes and grows. The bottom line is that the platform strategy must allow for scale and speed in flexing to the needs of your company’s changing information needs.
Look for ERP providers who have a proven track record of excelling at integrating their system and applications with third party platforms, systems, and applications. Integrating with legacy systems is the most challenging area of this requirement, so be sure to ask for customer references where the ERP providers you are evaluating have completed this level of integration. Additional questions to ask include how much experience the ERP provider has with accounting & finance, cloud, CRM, database, purchasing and diverse 3rd party system integration. Find out in detail how these were completed and see how these integrations are performing from an accuracy and speed standpoint.
The platform an ERP provider selects determines how scalable their applications and overall system are. Scaling applications to deliver the highest performance possible requires ERP providers to have precise metrics of how well they are performing today. Ask to see the dashboard of how the ERP provider is tracking scalability, performance, and speed. Any cloud-based ERP provider will have this immediately available as they are using it to manage all customer instances. For on-premise ERP providers, ask to see the benchmarks they have done that show scale of their applications on a variety of processors and servers. The bottom line is that scalability will make or break the success of your ERP system to make sure to get as much data as possible on how the ERP providers you are looking at are performing on this dimension.
How quickly an ERP system can be tailored to your changing requirements determines its agility. Evaluating potential ERP providers on this dimension starts with a demo and walk-through of how easy or difficult it is to change their application screens, followed by the processes to redefine the structural components of workflows. Go through a rigorous audit of changing everything from data elements on a screen, to the screens of interest, modifying workflows and finally changing and adding new databases to the ERP system itself. Go through the steps required to unify diverse databases and see how easy or difficult it is to create a new system of record for the entire ERP system as well. The second aspect of agility is how scalable an ERP system is in supporting any web-enabled device. State-of-the-art ERP platforms are optimized for mobile devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and all other Web-enabled devices. An ERP systems’ agility is also measured in how well the user experience is delivered on all mobile devices. Leading ERP providers concentrate on delivering excellent usability of their applications on any device, capitalizing on the scale of their platforms to support a range of diverse devices.
Security and Data Reporting
Evaluating ERP providers on the dimensions of security and data reporting need to begin with a thorough analysis of how well individual role-based logins, role authentication, and role-based reporting is supported. Advanced ERP providers have the ability to define specific role-based security and authentication, and their data security model extends to reporting and analytical tool access and support. There is a wide variation in how much ERP providers support role-based authentication in reporting. It is common for leading ERP providers to support over 100 potential roles. Included in these role assignments are provided parameters and controls on specific types of data and reports. Check to make sure your ERP provider supports this level of security and authentication to the role and privilege level, so confidential data doesn’t get shared. All reports need to have a document and report history option also to multi-site accounting reports that are traceable to original data sources. Audit to the role and privilege level is also essential to keep financial information safe in your ERP system.
The four key advantages of implementing an ERP system in your company are listed below:
Gain a company-wide view of accounting and financial performance
ERP systems are purpose-built to provide a company-wide view of accounting and financial data. Unifying Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivables into a single system that integrates to key process areas of a company delivers more insights than was ever available using accounting systems alone. ERP systems make it possible to track standard production costs and cost variances, and see how supply chain and services costs can be better managed Getting a 360-degree view of accounting, and financial performance is achievable with an ERP system, making a business easier to run and more efficient.
Gaining higher levels of efficiency achieved due to integrated business processes
The best ERP systems excel at integrating diverse workflows and business processes to deliver greater efficiency and control over company-wide strategies and programs. Being able to track production performance and its impact on profitability while managing suppliers to sales forecasts is possible with a scalable ERP system is a workflow many also support. Reducing the time wasted on manual reporting, selling and production processes can shrink a process from weeks to literally hours.
Improve marketing & sales strategies with a 360-degree view of the customer
By integrating marketing, sales, production and finance workflows, ERP systems are delivering a 360 degree of customers today. Knowing what customers have purchased in the past and will most likely buy in the future, and what their pricing history all contribute to selling more in the future. ERP systems that can scale to support customer information reduce order errors and track customer lifetime value with greater precision.
Improve supplier quality and delivery performance
Knowing who the best and worst suppliers are from a quality, pricing, and schedule accuracy standpoint is inviable in running a successful business. ERP systems are designed to track transactions with suppliers and provide insights into which are the best and worst to purchase from. It is now possible to reduce supplier risk by having greater insight into each of their quality and delivery performance levels.
How to Evaluate ERP SystemsSelecting an ERP system for your company needs to reflect how unique and differentiated your business is. Knowing which ERP providers excel in your industry will help to gain greater insight and context into who needs to be on your short list. There are hundreds of ERP providers selling systems today. Fortunately, SelectHub is here to help.
What’s wrong with your current solution?
- How well does your current ERP system support and streamline your business today?
- If you have an ERP solution in place, ask yourself why you are looking to make a change.
- What manual workarounds are you relying on today to get work done that your ERP system needs to automate?
- Who uses the current ERP system?
- Which departments are everyday users, and which are only using your ERP system occasionally?
- What are your ERP system’s users trying to achieve by using the solution, and how well can they carry out their goals?
- Is the system not cost-effective for your current users? Are you paying too much in monthly or annual fees for unused features?
- Is the ERP system too difficult to use today? Is it challenging to learn?
- Was the ERP system designed when your company had a different business model than it does today?
- What’s the information and insight you need to run your business that your existing ERP system doesn’t provide today?
What kind of ERP system will you need?
- What are the unique and differentiating workflows of your business?
- Which five process areas in your business today need the most improvement?
- What’s the plans for your business and how can an ERP system be used to support them?
- How can an ERP system be used as a scalable information platform to support your future business growth?
- How many ERP system users and data sources do you anticipate now and in the future, and what will the volume and complexity of the data be?
How will the ERP system perform once deployed?
- Is your company considering an on-premise or cloud-based ERP system?
- Who will be responsible for keeping the ERP system up-to-date and be its administrator?
- What devices will the ERP system need to run on throughout your company?
- Are you considering having the ERP system accessible from the production floor to share Bill of Materials (BOM) across manufacturing teams?
- How customizable do you need the individual screens, applications, and platforms to be to support your business?
- Will the ERP system be able to manage the wide variety of data reports needed to run your business today? How about in a year from now?
- Can the ERP system generate reports that are easily comprehensible for executives of your organization?
- How will the ERP system integrate with your current technology?
- How well will it replace the functionalities of any existing ERP systems you have?
- What support or training will the vendor provide during and after installation?
Every business has a unique set of needs, so the first step in a software selection project is to create a checklist of what your company needs most from an ERP system. There are hundreds of criteria to choose from, but the framework can be broken up into five main categories:
Transitioning from complex text-only interfaces with confusing commands to more intuitive, graphically driven screens, ERP systems’ user experience design and usability are improving rapidly today. In evaluating ERP systems for your company’s needs, evaluate potential vendors on how well they can provide a Microsoft Excel-like experience of using their applications. Intuitive navigation, ease of user interface customization, system-wide search, and drag-and-drop graphics to create dashboards differentiate the most innovative ERP providers today. Lists pages developed by Microsoft Dynamics AX is becoming a standard user experience design element in many ERP systems today. Leading ERP providers are also making reports, charts, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and embedded analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) all part of their configurable user interface options. These analytics options are being added to ERP systems’ user interfaces to provide users with the opportunity to drill down on data sets while keeping a contextual reference of their original report.
Workflows are what change the most as your business grows. Evaluating ERP providers’ ability to support complex workflows and provide the agility and flexibility to change them anytime is essential. Evaluate providers based on their support of information retrieval as a process step that includes contextual functionality. These features provide for more complex, intelligent workflows that can scale faster across y0our company and deliver information that is more valuable. As a baseline, all workflow designs need to support alerts and notifications in addition to roles-based security to the file and application level. Reporting capabilities that can be launched from within any workflow save time and automate routine reporting tasks, and are becoming more prevalent in ERP systems today. There are many other aspects of workflow design, making this area one that deserves attention and focuses during ERP system evaluations.
Financial and Operations Reporting
All ERP systems today support dashboards and fundamental lists pages. It’s important to get beyond these fundamental financial and operations reporting features and determine which third party reporting tools are also supporting. Crystal Reports support is common, as is JasperReports. Advanced reporting systems will also support aging analysis, Cash Flow analysis, and budgetary reporting. Advanced ERP providers also offer flexibility in defining custom metrics and KPIs for use on dashboards. Advanced ERP systems also support reporting for customer, product and supplier profitability as well.
Proven Data Sharing In The Provider’s Application Suite
ERP providers’ main application is often Accounting and Financials and many also sell CRM, Human Capital Management, Manufacturing and Distribution Management, Supply Chain Management, Distributed Order Management, Pricing, and Service. Often ERP providers will acquire smaller companies that have needed applications and technologies they need to scale their application suite. It’s commonplace to find that an ERP providers’ applications share a sub segment of data, especially if the applications are part of the suite as a result of acquisitions. Testing each application in the suite with unified workflows, determining inter-application integration support and if there is a single data model are all essential steps to take before purchasing a suite of ERP applications.
According to the latest market share data from International Data Corporation (IDC) and Gartner, one in five ERP systems being sold today is cloud-based. IDC predicts this will double in the next three years. Implementation options for cloud-based ERP systems are relatively simple and straightforward and include educating users about how they can best use the system to do their jobs. Integrating cloud-based ERP systems with third party legacy systems are where implementation options including Application Programmer Interfaces (API) become a priority. Often cloud-based ERP providers will rely on third party services firms to also provide integration software and support. There are many ERP systems sold today that run on stand-alone servers. Implementation options for these systems include Linux, Unix and Windows integration expertise to the operating system level. Evaluate ERP providers’ expertise with operating system, server, database integration and support for legacy ERP integration, specifically SAP R/3 instances which are prevalent in larger enterprises.
Do you have any workflows that highlight my industry’s unique challenges?
The most important criteria for evaluating any ERP provider is whether they have previous experience with your industry’s specific requirements and unique needs. Be sure to ask for examples of customers who are live today using their software to solve comparable industry challenges.
What advanced financial reports does your system provide?
The better ERP systems will support aging accounts receivable and accounts payable analysis, multi-site financials, price analysis and the ability to rank customer and supplier profitability. Just providing dashboards is not enough; the highest performing ERP systems today have the ability to do advanced financial analysis based on operations-driven data.
How can the manufacturing teams make use of the ERP system?
There are many uses of ERP information across the manufacturing floor of a business. Look to see if the ERP providers you are evaluating mention Bill of Materials (BOM) management, quality ratings by suppliers, inventory position by part, production scheduling, manufacturing execution system (MES) support and backlog management.
Why do sales teams need to have reports from the ERP system?
Sales can easily run reports to find out which customers’ orders shipped, are in backlog and which are just getting done by production. Having this information at their fingertips give them the ability to serve customers more effectively, while upselling new products and services. In advanced ERP systems, sales management can see what pricing programs are working the best and also collaborate with marketing on new selling strategies, immediately seeing what’s working or not.
Does the software integrate data from multiple departments?
When you can combine information from different areas of the business, you can analyze factors like how the latest marketing campaign affected sales and whether you had enough inventories to support that growth. This can also help you forecast growth and tailor protocol to the way you predict the company to operate in the future.
Will it grow with my business?
If you’re investing in an ERP solution, you don’t want it to be obsolete in a year. Plan to implement software that will last at least ten years. ERP should be scalable. Find out what the limitations are on the scale and reporting capability of your system so you can make an adequate decision about whether the software is right for you.
Many long-standing ERP system providers urgently need to transition from perpetual licensed-based revenue to subscriptions and maintenance as their on-premise customers migrate apps and workloads to cloud platforms. For many ERP system providers, their on-premise revenue is dwindling as long-standing customers abandon on-premise systems for cloud-based platforms that offer superior economic advantages. These disruptive forces that are revolutionizing the ERP landscape work to the advantage of system buyers today. Given how future revenue streams for ERP providers are entirely dependent on the pricing frameworks, strategies and programs they put in place today, ERP system buyers can define pricing terms to their advantage.
In negotiating with ERP systems providers regarding pricing, it’s important to keep the following key takeaways in mind:
- Every ERP provider has a series of pricing models that vary by the customer segments they sell into and profit goals by product and region – and many started from a perpetual pricing model with their first apps. All ERP providers rely on a series of pricing models and selectively present them to potential customers based on their needs, preferences, hardware prerequisites, geographic location and modules needed. The most common foundation of these pricing models is perpetual pricing, which is the first one many of the ERP providers began with. Perpetual pricing involves a large up-front fee to purchase the rights to use the ERP systems indefinitely. Annual maintenance contracts can range from 15% to as high as 25% of the purchase price of the software. Many companies choose to outsourcing maintenance to 3rd party companies instead of paying larger ERP providers this maintenance fee. Given how urgently ERP providers want to move from on-premise to cloud revenue sources, bargaining for a lower maintenance fee is possible and is being accomplished by many customers buying systems today.
- ERP pricing strategies began with perpetual pricing and have since moved on to per-resource models in addition to the fast-growing subscription-based approaches to generate greater maintenance revenues. Fixed fee or perpetual licensing is most prevalent for on-premise ERP systems, while package pricing spans both on-premise and Cloud-based systems. It is common to see ERP pricing models that include Per CPU, Per Seat, Per User, Per User/Per Year and value-based pricing.
- Minimize add-on customizations of an ERP system and take a best-fit approach to trim pricing by as much as 10X. The largest providers of ERP systems charge between $4 to $10 for every $1 spent on software to complete customization of core ERP components and modules. Selecting the best-fit of ERP systems for your company’s needs and reducing or eliminating customizations will significantly reduce the overall price.
- Subscription pricing is becoming more commonplace has Cloud-based ERP vendors provide many variations on this pricing approach making their applications affordable for small businesses. Of the many pricing strategies today, subscription-based is the fastest growing and the one with the greatest variation of options for companies. The most common forms of subscription pricing include an initial set-up fee and a monthly charge for the applications used by a business during the month. Variations on the model include value-based and transaction-based pricing. Value-based pricing tracks the costs savings an ERP application generates through an agreed-upon approach between the vendor and customers. Transaction-based pricing tracks how many exchanges there are of payments for products, services, and coordination across suppliers and buyers.
- The level of customization, applications or modules required, total user count, the number of geographic locations, anticipated transaction level, and platform all have a significant impact on ERP system pricing. All of these factors will impact the pricing for an ERP system with the anticipated transaction level influencing both the scalability of the system and potentially its price if a per-transaction pricing model is used. Add to this if the ERP system is hosted or on-premise and the pricing model will change to reflect licensing versus maintenance charges.
- Change management costs can often become nearly as much as the ERP system itself, including consulting, training and redefining process workflows. ERP software itself is often the least expensive cost component of an implementation, with the many costs associated with change management being the majority of the price. It’s important to plan and budget for a change management strategy that includes training, customization of screens and usability improvements and ongoing consulting to make sure those using the system get the most value from it. Change management strategies also need to be in place before a new system is purchased and installed for its full value to be realized.
- When budgeting for a new or replacement ERP system there are five key costs that need to be defined as part of the original budget. For on-premise ERP systems it’s important to have a budget in place for the hardware or infrastructure, IT staff costs, implementation and customization, maintenance and the actual software license. ERP system providers will often initially quote a perpetual license if you ae interested in an on-premise system. It’s best also to ask for a per-transaction and per seat estimate as well to see how you can get the best possible price. For cloud-based ERP systems, the two largest costs will be subscription fees and implementation or customization. One major cost component to also think about is the integration between the ERP system and existing databases and 3rd party systems in your company. With on-premise systems, this will require customization, and with cloud-based systems, there may be Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) available to enable integration.
Choosing an ERP system provider is a task that should be given serious consideration. This ERP system comparison is meant to be used as a starting point to guide IT professionals who are tasked with making this decision.