ERP: How Should You Investigate Your Options? Part 2

ERP modernization or replacement? The road to this decision becomes less a question of should you and more of a question regarding what is the right path to take? In our last post, I discussed some considerations in making this decision. This post continues the conversation with additional pieces to consider as you move toward making the right choices for your company and your situation. 

Last time I discussed your options for gathering the right information to make effective decisions. Here are some other factors to consider once you have gathered the information you need.

The cloud: factoring in the future

The speed of change within all ERP systems is remarkable. There is tremendous pressure within the industry to move ERP systems to the cloud but not all ‘cloud’ systems are created equal. Actually, few are truly even cloud environments at this point; although, this too is changing. It’s important to understand what these differences are and how they may impact the life and viability of your system into the not-so-distant future. A single vendor will likely avoid providing transparent insight on how their system is positioned for the future vs. the competition. At a minimum, it will be one-sided without a true representation of where the market is going as a whole. An independent consultant can give you honest insight into all the viable systems for your company and discuss how the direction of each might impact you.

Interpreting your options

Making sense of your system requirements and business needs through the right lens becomes the next challenge – or opportunity. If your vendor has collected this information, they have done so with one focus: how they will be able to upgrade you in their system and their system only. While they will be highly qualified to help you make the most of their system, they will also be aware of their system’s limitations. This is information that may or may not be relevant in your situation. Their job, after all, is to work their system into the requirements presented to them.

An independent consultant, however, has deep knowledge of many systems and is therefore in tune with multiple options. They may conclude that you are in the right system and that a simple upgrade will be your best solution to work with its best practices, without customizations. If that is the case, you lost nothing by using a consultant, and you have gained the confidence of outside confirmation.

But what if that isn’t the case? What if your current system will not meet your needs or will need customizations to do the job? Customizations become costly and inefficient quickly and are a significant hinderance to the ease of upgrading future versions of that application.

Don’t waste cost or time

A consultant can present multiple options to you for the same time and cost you put into the vendor’s investigation. This includes systems that will meet your needs while keeping a focus on industry best practices.

If your current system with an upgrade will meet your needs, you will have spent no additional time or money on a consultant than you likely would have spent with your vendor.

If another system is your best option, you haven’t wasted any additional cost or time. In fact, you saved both! Now you are better positioned to move forward from the work already completed to evaluate the solution that best fits your company’s needs both now and as it moves forward toward future growth and efficiency.

Benefit beyond technology

An outside, unbiased analysis is always a good option. You can make the changes you need without unnecessary cost or wasted time. You will also benefit from an outside perspective because businesses don’t run solely on technology. An independent consultant will also factor in your people and processes as you improve your ERP to maximize the overall benefit to your business. Most importantly, you can move forward with confidence that your best options have been explored and you have chosen the right path for your company.