Part 3 of a 5 part blog series
While price always plays a big role in ERP selection, it shouldn’t be the first and only criteria. There are always hidden costs (and benefits) to be considered that are often overlooked. The old adage, “You get what you pay for” is relevant even in the world of enterprise software. Best fit, scalability and reputation are also key considerations. Finding the right solution for your organization that provides the best ROI and provides you with a long term solution should not be based on just the price of software and implementation.
As you select your ERP solution, don’t miss these often overlooked areas of importance to consider:
True Total Cost of Ownership – this cost should include annual maintenance fees, customization, training, support and any hardware required.
Hardware and Operating Systems – ERP that is built on a common and familiar platform is another key consideration. Dos the ERP system use modern technology that your IT staff can support? Will it require a new server or do you plan on a cloud deployment? Do you need to upgrade your operating system at the same time?
Customization vs Personalization – does the selected ERP system require customization to perform all of your desired tasks? Remember customization creates additional maintenance and upgrade tasks. Personalization can be done at the user level and requires no additional consultant fees to create custom code.
Training & Education – the true benefits of ERP are not achieved without educated end users and ongoing training. Has your company considered and reviewed the cost for not only initial training, but post go-live and annual training to make sure your staff is equipped with the knowledge to be successful? Delivery method of training has different pricing, make sure you plan ahead for onsite or web-based training. Some ERP systems, such as Infor CloudSuite Industrial, have a wonderful tool called EPAK, which is a document management training program that monitors completion of training by users.
Features & Functionality – All ERP systems have standard modules and many have a variety of bells and whistles. Consider what modules you currently need and what you may need in the future. With technology changing quickly, you will want to consider a software that is built for the future and includes progressive modules such as Social Collaboration and provides Mobile Accessibility.
User Friendly – To maximize the value of your ERP investment and successful adoption of the users, the tool needs to be easy to use and navigate. Is the interface user friendly? For example, if your ERP is based on Microsoft, users can quickly adapt and navigate through the system due to the familiar interface and everyday use of other products.
Support – There are various levels of support that are provided both before and after the ERP Implementation project. Support can be performed by the Consultant or the ERP Vendor and can be delivered in person or remotely. It is important to identify your support options, preferred method and if there are any additional costs associated.
Price certainly should and does play a role in any software purchase. After you have identified what you really need, make sure you are comparing all of the costs and vendor offerings to find the solution that will provide you with years of added value.