Your current system is lacking–a change is needed. What now?
Life isn’t perfect. Hardware isn’t perfect. Software isn’t perfect. Budgets are always under pressure. It’s difficult to agree on priorities internally. Salespeople have self-serving agendas.
With all this confusion and pressure, how is it possible to select the right software, the right vendor, and the best possible plan to fuel your company’s future?
There are a few key principles that will make a difference in your future success, both as a selection committee and as an organization.
- Bigger isn’t necessarily better.
QuickBooks arguably has the most expansive footprint of all modern accounting software, but it has severe limitations. Other software giants have traditionally ridden their products with wide success, but their weaknesses are often outpaced by their ability to give even marginal customer support. Because of their growth pace, they forget to focus on innovation and stagnate. Their pricing can become erratic.
- Foundational strengths matter.
The future of technology is bright. It is important to select a solution that can grow and adapt with you. Not only is the platform (including database, programming language, and deployment methodology) important, but so is your staff’s ability to adapt the software to your needs. (Don’t fall into the trap of having to change your workflows to match software capabilities!) Although it can be tempting to look for a solution that feels like your old software–remember that you SHOULD be looking to adopt best practices for your business workflows. Your business operating system should be flexible enough, robust enough, and reliable enough to facilitate reliability in your business.
- The main reason for software is to facilitate activities that create accurate, actionable information.
Data collection by your ERP system should have a single purpose–to provide the best possible path to profitability. This is best accomplished when activities are optimized for both time and cost, system controls eliminate costly mistakes (humans always will make mistakes, but a good system should proactively anticipate and block them), and the data collection funnels into relevant and finely-tuned reporting. Even though much of the function of an ERP system is data collection, your system should be flexible enough to present easy-to-understand and utilize reporting.
- Vendor selection matters.
Some organizations can function with remote support technology that has made it wonderfully easy to provide remote access and conferencing abilities. However, some company cultures require a more face-to-face approach to successful implementations. Make sure you understand what type of relationship will be best for your company.
A vendor with a track record of ability to understand your situation is essential. Don’t fall into the “vertical” trap of thinking that your vendor must have a specific expertise in your business model. While a good understanding of the way you do business is critical, the “vertical expert” thinking can be flawed. A vendor who has a wide variety of experience with many kinds of businesses can help you innovate and escape the traditional-thinking traps that your competition is ALSO stuck in. A vendor who has seen many types of businesses can provide alternate ideas for innovating that will give you a competitive advantage.
- Avoid the “this is how we do it” trap.
While change will almost always feel painful to many in your organization, successful implementations blend a healthy mix of old ways and new ways of getting things done. A new ERP business operating system might just be the perfect time to introduce some streamlined workflows into your operation. If done correctly, you will win the hearts and minds of your organization by making their jobs easier and more efficient. (However, do be careful to stick to the core workflows that give you a competitive advantage in your company’s niche. Changes should improve productivity and performance…)
Whether you are looking to do a complete changeover of your entire environment or optimize a single workflow, Xcellerated Solutions has a unique mix of technical knowledge and abilities, vast business experience, strong accounting knowledge, and a history of innovative solutions that have helped businesses worldwide achieve new levels of productivity and profitability. We understand the struggles of switching or enhancing systems. We know how to play fair and to work with your people to find the best solution for you.
How can we help?