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Microsoft Dynamics vendors provide comparisons and opinions to professionals in the ERP/Accounting software selection process

 
 

Malcolm Roach, Open Door Technology Inc.

What Features to Look For in a New ERP System


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There are important features to consider when selecting an ERP system, but don’t get trapped by the features race in ERP software. The question is, where do you start when evaluating systems?

My introduction to the ERP consulting space many years ago started with reviewing extensive questionnaires with new clients to find out the features required for their new system.  Each answer was marked as a “need” or given a “want” rating on a scale of one to five.  The hundreds of answers were then punched into a software application that matched the requirements to a number of accounting systems with the goal of identifying the best match. The process sounded good on paper, which is usually a precursor to saying something really doesn’t work very well in the real world.  What I discovered very rapidly was that there really were only five to ten items that were critical features for the organization.  In the early 1980’s, important features not found in many systems included serial number tracking and foreign currency.  Today most systems have those specific features and the bar has risen.

Organizations have moved on to wanting mobile solutions on a choice of mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.  Business intelligence has gained importance to a number of organizations.  Cloud computing has become a must in the eyes of many. So the natural question is how you find out what those key processes are without having to go through the hundreds of questions? This process is important because failure to properly identify business requirements can result in failure while implementing a system. One option is to engage with a consulting organization to carry out a software search but most of those force you through an RFP process, which can be both expensive and time-consuming.  That may be okay as a last resort but your best option is to find someone that understands the ERP software industry and can give you some practical advice.  If you are fortunate, you may be able to have that conversation with your accountant or someone in a similar business.  As an alternative, you can talk to a number of representatives in the ERP industry and find someone that is willing to give you straight up advice, even at the risk of losing a potential sale.

At the end of the day, a good match between a customer and a software vendor saves everyone a lot of headache, which should be a key objective for everyone involved. We have walked away from a number of potential sales over the years including those at the point of signing when we concluded that the software wasn’t a strong enough match or there were philosophical differences between the customer’s expectations and what we felt was realistic.  We would be happy to speak with you for a few minutes to help you on your way, whether that is with us or with someone else.

By Malcolm Roach, Microsoft Gold Certified ERP Partner in Dynamics NAV

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