The 3 Things You Should Know About ERP

The term Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) was coined by the Gartner Group in 1990. ERP has been around a long time and it has come to mean many things, but the Wikipedia definition is among the best we’ve read:

“Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems integrate internal and external management information across an entire organization, embracing finance/accounting, manufacturing, sales and service, customer relation management, etc. ERP systems automate this activity with an integrated software application. Their purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders.”

There are a lot of misconceptions around ERP, but here are three things you should know about ERP and what it can mean for your business.

Myth 1: ERP is shorthand for million dollar systems
Truth: ERP is an affordable way to run your business more effectively.

While there are ERP systems that can run into the millions, there are other options for small to mid-sized business. Not only are these solutions priced more affordably, they are proven and used by thousands of small to mid-sized business.

In addition to solid solutions at affordable pricing, midrange systems are implemented much faster than large tier one ERP systems. A good technology solution provider will review pricing and provide a plan for your ERP implementation timeline.

Myth 2: ERP is only practical for very large companies.
Truth: ERP is available for every size company and arguably more critical for small to mid-sized businesses.

The value of an ERP system–making key data, trends and financials available across the business as well as eliminating manual processes and re-keying of data–is probably more impactful for small to mid-sized businesses that don’t have the resources a large company has at it’s disposal. Therefore, the more a small to mid-sized business can automate, the more operations become efficient and profitable.

Myth 3: ERP implementations take forever and are obsolete before you ever go live.
Truth: There are many more cases of successful ERP implementations and selecting the right technology solution provider is the best way to ensure success.

While the time to implement varies by customer and configuration of the solution they chose, most midrange ERP systems can be implemented in 4–6 months. When you select your technology solution provider, conduct your due diligence. Ask for references and ask the reference about the implementation timeframe they were given prior to the project and what the actual implementation timeline was. Inquire about the price quoted prior to the project and what the actual cost was. Find out what it was like to work with the technology solution provider; were they responsive, were they able to satisfactorily answer questions, did they operate efficiently and confidently, was it a positive experience?

Taking your business to the next level should be an exciting time. You will be able to do more, plan better, address changes more quickly and operate more profitably. Choosing the right technology solution partner is an important first step. They can guide you to an ERP solution that provides enough functionality to accommodate your growth but isn’t overly complicated or cumbersome for your team to use.

Technology can make a dramatic difference for your business–and choosing a great technology solution provider is the one of the first and most important steps.