Replacing outdated systems is essential if you want to support your business’s growth into the future. Outdated systems and processes can really hold your business back, but what questions should you ask if you’re thinking of replacing them?
While your original financial package was probably fine to handle your requirements when your business was starting out, it can constrain growth and create unnecessary manual tasks when you have to add software packages that can’t communicate with each other. At some point in your company’s evolution, you will be asking yourself if now is the right time to select an ERP solution?
Changing systems is always a big decision. You will need a team of people who all understand the objectives, with a clear project plan and timeline. And, it sounds simple, but you need to know what you want to achieve from changing systems? Embarking upon a digital transformation project without a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how you want your systems to work afterwards is a recipe for failure.
What do we need the system to do?
This question is fundamental, and if you’ve been struggling with your current, out-dated, systems for a while you probably have strong opinions on how you don’t want your new ERP system to work. But do you know what you do want it to do? It is important to include employees from each area of your business in the selection process so you can get a clear understanding of their needs, and how they want the new system to work for them.
There are endless questions you could ask to help define what is most important to your business, but common requirements that we frequently see among our customers focus on better stock management and reporting functionality.
What reporting functionality do you need? Can your sales team effectively manage their opportunities from initial inquiry to shipping and after sales service, if necessary? Would it be useful to be able to analyse the impact of sales promotions to support strategic decision making on future marketing activity and negotiate supplier discounts? What about analysing market conditions to optimise the production planning process? What about regulatory compliance?
Asking the right questions will help lead you to the right solution.
Who is in my team?
It’s important to consider the wide variety of skillsets required before you embark on the process of choosing a new ERP system. The person leading the process will need excellent project management skills to keep everything on track, drawing on the abilities of the other team members at the right time. It is useful to include someone from every functional department that will be using the system too. There’s no point having the finance team select a system based on its reporting capabilities if it can’t cope with the requirements of the manufacturing or stock control side of the business.
Having employees on the project team with a deep understanding of their area of the business is essential to make sure everyone gets exactly what they want from the system. They are the ones who will know how they need the system to work for them, and this will help ensure the system is accepted by your employees. The more it is used, the bigger impact it will have on the bottom line through the automation of manual tasks and repetitive processes.
On-premise or in the cloud?
Cloud-based deployments have become increasingly popular over recent years for many reasons. With a subscription-based model, you gain access to advanced functionality that will grow with you, future-proofing your business for a predictable monthly fee. You can also free up the overheads of on-premise IT infrastructure and its associated support costs. Security is becoming ever more important, and cloud deployments can substantially reduce the risk of catastrophic data loss. The risk of end-of-life software and hardware failures can be eliminated completely by running your ERP system in the cloud.
How will our chosen supplier support us through the implementation process?
It’s important to work with a company whose team understands your requirements, and who you feel you can work with as an extension to your internal team. Their team of functional and technical consultants may be able to suggest ways of doing things that you might not have considered, as well as how best to use your chosen solution to get the most out of it. Their project management team will work closely with you to ensure the project stays on track, supporting you throughout the process. You will of course need training on the system to make sure you know how to use it, and ensure you get the best return on your investment. Training will need to be delivered in a way that fits your requirements, whether that is on an on-going basis throughout the implementation process, or delivered through dedicated training sessions, either on-site or online, to make sure that staff are confident using the system.
How can we measure success?
There are several ways to measure the success of an ERP implementation. Whether the project is completed on time and on budget are immediate and obvious measurements, but sometimes measurements are less visible and tangible. Employee acceptance of a new system is always a good measure of the success of an ERP implementation. The automation of processes and stumbling blocks can result in happier, more engaged employees, particularly if time savings mean they can focus on more meaningful work that they feel has a bigger impact on the company.
Does the system do what you wanted it to, and does it meet the goals and objectives that you started out with? This is one of the biggest measures – if you can answer yes to this one, then your new ERP system is well-positioned to drive the future growth and success of your company.
Are you generating cost savings? There are so many ways a successful ERP implementation can generate cost savings. Whether this is saving on IT overheads through cloud deployment, being able to negotiate supplier discounts through greater insight into the effects of sales promotions or seasonal offers, or optimising stock levels in the warehouse so less money is tied up in keeping excess stock on premise. There are so many potential financial measures dependent on the nature of your business.
How can Ascarii help?
As an SAP Business One Gold Partner, Ascarii’s team of functional and technical consultants has extensive experience across most types of industries. We work with our customers to ensure the smooth implementation and adoption of SAP Business One throughout their businesses, taking time to understand their requirements and how they want the system to work for them. We can recommend how customers can use the solution to get the most of out it, holding their hands through every step of the implementation process, with ongoing training and customer support.
To find out more about SAP Business One, and how it can help your organisation automate and streamline processes, create efficiencies, and save time and money, please contact our friendly team now.