Complete Guide to Finding the Best ERP for Your Business, Part One: ERP Research

When you realize that your business needs more than just a simple accounting system and spreadsheets, you’re faced with a tricky question. What’s next?

Usually, the answer to this question is ERP software. But, you don’t want to pick your ERP at random and implement it without first doing your homework. Finding the best ERP solution for your business is a multi-step process that may seem long and daunting at first. But taking your time when making this important decision will pay dividends well into the future.

Because ERP research and evaluation are a struggle for many of our prospective clients, I want to spend time in this blog post and the one following answering some of the questions we hear most often.

Today, let’s get started by talking about ERP research. This is a big topic. So, to keep this blog from getting too long, I will hit the high points with my answer to each question and then give you additional resources where you can go for more information.


Question one: I’m just starting my ERP research, where should I begin?


First, you’ll want to choose your ERP selection team. This should include an executive sponsor, users and someone who will manage the project from start to finish. Throughout the duration of the project you should expect for this to be the project manager’s main focus. All others will work on the ERP selection and implementation process part-time. Gather them together and begin by answering these questions.

  • Why do we need a new ERP system?
  • What do we hope to gain from it?

Then, establish a strategy for the project. Set milestones and decide what each person’s role in the process will be. Once you have that set, it’s important to take a hard look at the current state of business. If you want to measure the ROI of your new ERP system after implementation, you will need to get baseline metrics taken before the project begins.


For more information, read “Navigating ERP Selection and Implementation: A Five Step Process.”


Question two: I’ve heard a lot about cloud solutions, is it all just hype?


Because you hear so much about cloud software in the media today, it is easy to assume that it’s all just hype and marketing speak. However, that is not the case. The cloud has become extremely popular over the last several years for good reason.

First, cloud solutions make your information available from anywhere. You no longer must stay tethered to your office desk to get your job done. Not only that, it frees you from having to own costly hardware. With Internet-based (cloud solutions), the software provider handles the servers and their maintenance. So, instead of putting up a lot of capital upfront, you can spread the cost of your software out over time, paying for it in monthly installments.


For more information, read “Benefits of the Cloud


Question three: What is cloud ERP all about? Is it right for me?


When you choose a cloud ERP, you are using the Internet and shared computing resources owned by your software provider to run your company’s ERP software.

Whether this type of ERP solution is right for your business is a personal choice.

But, in general if you want the freedom to access your system, anytime, anywhere, from any device, cloud ERPs should definitely be on your shortlist. On the other hand, if you are in a highly regulated industry where you can’t afford to store your data on a server not owned and controlled by your business, a SaaS cloud solution may not be the best fit. You will probably want to consider hybrid or on-premise solutions instead.


For more information, visit this webpage.


Question four: How can a cloud ERP help my business succeed?


Cloud ERP solutions are smart choice for most businesses because they save you money in several areas:

  1. Avoid upfront costs for servers and other infrastructure.
  2. Lower IT support costs, because most of the IT is in the cloud. All you need are computers and mobile devices with web browsers.
  3. Split licensing costs up into monthly payments rather than paying for it upfront.
  4. Reduce your IT consulting bill. With cloud ERP software, all the updates and upgrades are handled for you. You get all the latest and greatest features without the hassle.


But, the benefits of the cloud, don’t stop there.

  1. You’re paying only for the computing resources you need.
  2. More of your cash flow is available for other projects.
  3. Implementation is much faster because you no longer need to set up servers and other hardware to run the system.
  4. Data backups occur automatically on a regular basis and disaster recovery safeguards are put in place for you.
  5. You no longer need worry about attacks on your own server. Reputable cloud service providers understand that their success depends on the security of their clients’ data. So, they spend a great deal of time and resources working to keep your information from falling into the wrong hands.
  6. Geographic expansion becomes easier because you’re free to access your information from anywhere. Users no longer must be at the office to get their job done.


For more information, read “Four Advantages of Cloud ERP


Question five: is my data safe in the cloud?


Many people understandably assume that keeping their data in house is more secure than letting someone else manage it. However, countless studies have found the opposite to be true. Again, cloud vendors understand that their reputation depends on their ability to keep their clients’ sensitive data safe. They spend a great deal of time, money and other resources doing everything they can to safeguard your information. Most small and medium sized businesses do not have the resources or knowledge to match the security efforts put forth by cloud vendors.


For more information, read “Debunking Four Popular Myths about the Cloud


Question six: What ROI can I expect from a cloud ERP?


With all the benefits the cloud provides, it is no surprise that these systems can deliver an impressive return on your investment. In fact, a 2016 study performed by Nucleus Research found that cloud applications deliver more than twice the ROI of their on-premise counterparts.


For more information, read “Cloud Delivers 2.1 Times More ROI


Question seven: What do cloud ERP’s really cost?


No matter what deployment method you choose, whether it be on premise or cloud-based, the price quote you get from your ERP vendor may or may not accurately reflect the project’s final cost. Not because they are are trying to trick you, rather there may be costs you didn't expect. For example, a couple costs that our prospective clients often overlook are training and customization expenses.


For more information, read “The Seven Hidden Costs of ERP


Final Thoughts


There you have it, a brief rundown of the most frequent questions we get from prospective clients about the ERP research process. We hope you will use them as your guide to help you navigate the complicated world of ERP research.


Want to explore other questions to consider during the ERP research stage? Visit this handy webpage, by Acumatica, a leader in the cloud ERP market.


Still have questions? Need advice tailored to your unique situation? Contact us. We have over 25 years’ of experience helping small and medium-size businesses just like yours find the right ERP.


By: Laura Schomaker, Intelligent Technologies, Inc., a NC Acumatica and Microsoft partner

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.