A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the five key questions a new ERP partner should ask you when commencing an implementation project. This week we turn our attention to the ten key questions to ask a potential ERP partner when starting out. Their answers to these questions will give you not only a better understanding of the ERP solution they are offering, but also an insight into their knowledge, expertise and integrity as a potential ERP partner in your implementation journey.
1. Does your ERP go beyond a simple accounting solution?
There is a common misconception that an ERP solution is the same as a simple accounting system. Although an ERP includes the financial and accounting functions within accounting software, many are fully integrated systems that also include: inventory and supply chain management, customer relationship management, online selling and buying, and warehouse management. A good ERP partner should be able to explain this to you, and also explain how their software solution provides functionality and value to your entire business.
2. Does your ERP offer business intelligence and reporting?
A good ERP system not only collects data on various aspects of your business, but also has the capability to analyse this data and present that data in a way that is easily understandable and offers you actionable business insights. Before you start working with a new ERP partner, it is important to determine whether the solution they are offering you has business intelligence and reporting capabilities.
3. In your opinion, what are the strengths and weakness of the ERP?
Every ERP has its strengths and its weaknesses. A good implementation partner who knows their solution and also believes it in will be happy to promote its key strengths. But they should also admit if it does have some weaknesses. They can advise you on what you and your business, and them as your partner, need to do to mitigate any weaknesses.
4. How easy is the ERP system to use?
With an ERP system, or any software solution for that matter, it is very important that the system is easy to use for both the individual user and for the business in general. Ease of use not only includes user experience on a day to day basis, but also how it integrates with other systems and software solutions in the business.
5. Does the ERP system offer business insights?
Alongside business intelligence gained from collected business data included in the solution, many ERPs now make sure of intelligent cloud technology. For example, machine learning and advanced analytics to forecast, track, analyse and predict business trends and advise solutions. It is important to ask your potential ERP partner whether the system you are discussing has these capabilities.
6. What is the total cost of ownership?
“How much will it cost me?” is a fairly standard question that businesses will ask an ERP partner when they first start talking about a new system. It is, however, very important that you ask, right from the beginning, about the total cost of ownership. To get the real picture of cost, you need to know about the costs for initial implementation, licensing, customisations, training and ongoing support.
7. What does your ERP do to reduce or mitigate risks?
A good ERP software solution can play an important role in helping your business manage and mitigate risks such as supply chain reliability, compliance issues and data reliability. It is therefore important to understand what types of functionality the ERP includes (such as compliance management systems) and how they can help you mitigate your business risks.
8. Does the solution have long-term technology vision?
ERP systems are constantly evolving and updating. It is important to make sure that the potential ERP partner you choose is one that has the vision and forward-thinking ambition to embrace the need to change and grow as technology advances.
9. Does the ERP support and drive growth?
Software scalability is important for any business. Your ERP system should be able to grow as you grow, be able to handle increases in transactional volume, workload, and amount of data. It is therefore very important to find out how easy it is for you to add or remove users as well as additional ERP functionality.
10. How can your ERP help us plan for the future?
As with scalability, a software solution that is extendable is also important for any business. Many businesses want to invest in one that includes additional modules to meet wider business needs, whether that be supply chain management, customer relationship management or online selling capabilities. It is therefore important that you find out what additional functionality your new ERP includes and how easy it will be to add this if and when the right time arises. Knowing this will help you plan for your future digital transformation aspirations.
How can TVision help you?
TVision is one of the largest and most experienced providers of Business Central and NAV in the UK. Here at TVision, we are happy to discuss with you any of the questions above plus all the other questions you may have about ERP in general and Business Central specifically. If you want to find out more about Business Central as an ERP solution or TVision as your potential implementation and support ERP partner, please contact us to arrange a demo.