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Ray Emirzian, docSTAR

Developing an ERP Strategy for Long Term Success


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    Germany may have won the World Cup, but that doesn't mean they can just rest on their laurels and expect to win next year, too. Continuous hard work, training, skill-building and practice are the only way to stay on top of the game.

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    The same holds true for your ERP system.

    Getting one to work for your business may be your first win, but there are things you need to do – and your vendor must do – in order to stay in the lead and make your ERP a viable solution for the long term.

    There are three areas you need to focus on with your vendor in order to keep moving forward – whether you are upgrading your current system, shopping for a new system, or adding on a new module.

     

    Play by the Rules

    Is your current ERP software vendor continually updating their functionality? Are they building modules that fit your industry and meet your regulatory concerns? Does the ERP have a good reputation but a lot of functionality you can’t use?

    Not all systems are for everyone. Paying attention to what ERP systems other successful companies in your industry are using can be helpful.

    Systems that may look good on the outside may not include all the processes, workflows and data structure you need in order to stay compliant in your industry and within your business rules.

    Ask specific questions related to your unique needs, inquire about references and make sure you don’t get stuck with a shiny new ERP that you can’t utilize to the full.

     

    Build the Right Team

    As your business grows, so too will your investments in infrastructure and technology.

    Maybe you already have a legacy, in-house system to handle your enterprise management. Or maybe you think a cloud-based system fits your growing business best. Many companies today are utilizing a hybrid approach – integrating cloud-based ERP systems with other technology applications like AP Processing and combining those best-of-breed solutions for a complete system.

    Whatever your business goals are for the next 3-5 years, plan ahead and ensure you have the proper vendors, modules and products in place to utilize your technology investments to the full potential during each phase of your growth. Take the time to identify emerging technologies – like BYOD and mobile applications - to give you even more flexibility.

     

    Keep Your Eye on the Goal


    A good ERP implementation will have the ultimate goal of helping optimize your business processes for a solid ROI.

    A good vendor will work with you to identify operational inefficiencies and help you get on the right path with industry best practices and ongoing training and support. Any successful relationship relies on open communication. Look for vendors who proactively find solutions or workarounds to your issues and who don’t close the door when the implementation is complete.

    Ask to see a “Product Roadmap” of recent updates and future enhancements. You can be sure your vendor will move you forward - if they themselves are moving their own product in a positive direction.  If it has been a while since anything new has emerged from a vendor – this should be a red flag warning to you.

    The implementation of an ERP system is really only the first step to optimizing your business processes. With the right training and focus, your business can realize benefits like streamlined operations, improved communications and more efficient workflows that free up your staff to identify and take advantage of new opportunities.

     

    Don’t let your software rest and become a “has-been.” With the right focus and commitment to success, you too will be at the top of your game, for a long time to come.


    Written by Ray Emirzian, VP Product Management, docSTAR – Enterprise Content Management and AP Automation Solutions

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