5 steps for selecting the right ERP system for your business

Adnan Patel
| 1/18/2021
5 steps for selecting the right ERP system for your business

Selecting an ERP system is no small decision.

Beginning the search for an ERP system can be exciting – but also complicated and stressful.

Not only are you looking for a system that will seamlessly integrate your core business functions, you’re also looking for the best of the best when it comes to software – and a vendor who can provide you with world-class service and support.

It can be difficult to know how to select an ERP system. A quick search will conjure up an endless list of software and vendors, all of whom are vying for your attention. How can you be sure they’re the right match?

We’re here to help you take the guesswork out of the process by sharing five tips on how to choose an ERP system.

Insights in your inbox
Never miss an opportunity to grow and improve your business. Stay on top of business insights by subscribing to our NetSuite blog.

1. CREATE YOUR ERP RESEARCH TEAM 

Whether you're a long way down the road or at the beginning of your ERP journey, creating an ERP software research team is a crucial first step. This team will help you capture the greatest needs of your organization and avoid missing key considerations for selecting an ERP system. 

Most importantly, this step will create greater ownership and buy-in from key stakeholders and influencers. Consider people in the areas of accounting, inventory, order management, human resources, and customer relationship management. Each area of business will provide a unique angle on pain points, essential needs, and future needs of your organization. Creating an effective team early on can take time, but long-term it will save you time, resources, and frustrations. And besides, you will be thanked for inviting key personnel to the conversation.

2. DETERMINE YOUR ERP NEEDS

Once you have your team in place, begin to evaluate your greatest needs for selecting an ERP system. As you brainstorm with your team, look to balance present pain points with the future needs of your organization.  

Common questions to consider are: 

  • Financial reporting. How will we gain reliable financial reporting that is both accurate and timely? 
  • Analytics and data. How much visibility will we be provided in terms of sales, production, and procurement processes? 

 

  • User experience. How intuitive will the software be? How will it impact the productivity of employees? What is the direct cost benefit to the organization? 
  • Automation. What automation of processes is needed? Can we use the software to automate job costing, sales orders, and supply chain management? What other processes would be advantageous to automate? 
  • Mobile accessibility. How accessible will the software be for mobile users who need real-time access in the field? Which users will need mobile accessibility?

3. EVALUATE ERP PROVIDERS  

There’s no shortage of ERP software providers, and it can be overwhelming trying to narrow focus to the top two or three providers. You don’t have time to wade through a sea of online brochures and endless phone calls.  

Fortunately, there are some key considerations that will allow you to narrow the field, saving you time and online headaches: 

  • Industry experience. What ERP providers are widely used in our industry? What degree of expertise do they have specific to our industry? 

 

  • Customization & applications. Does the ERP platform allow for the development of applications laid on top of it so we can customize for our specific organizational needs? 
  • Flexibility. How flexible do we need the ERP software to be now, and in the future? What degree of customization is needed to work in our industry? 
  • Reporting. How will the ERP software support industry-specific compliance requirements and reporting?

4. EVALUATE ERP VENDORS

Once you’ve narrowed your field to your top two or three providers, the next step is to secure a vendor who provides an effective and efficient implementation with continuing support.  

While many providers and vendors can offer you a slick launch time frame, it’s important to consider all phases of research: prelaunch, post-launch, and ongoing support from an experienced vendor: 

  • Implementation experience. What level of experience does the ERP vendor have? Will they be able to anticipate problems before they happen? How long have they supported the ERP software we are looking to use? 
  • Industry expertise. What level of expertise will be provided? Do they have a deep bench of industry specialists who will understand the specific needs of our business units? 

 

  • Customization. What level of customization will be provided? Will the ERP vendor have the expertise to customize and add applications to meet our organizational needs, or will it be a “cookie cutter” experience? 
  • Implementation. What is the launch time being offered? Is the launch time frame more about “hitting a date” rather than providing world-class service? 
  • Training. What pre- and post-launch training is offered? What additional resources will be provided to help employees enjoy a smooth user experience? 
  • Support. What does ongoing support and collaboration look like? Will it be the same consistent team who knows our organization, our nuances, and our history?

Depend on a NetSuite implementation partner that goes the distance.

We’ve got an implementation model for every need. And when you need continued NetSuite support, you'll still be talking to the same Crowe team you started with.  

NetSuite consulting services

NetSuite consulting services

5. SPEAK TO CLIENTS OF THE ERP VENDOR 

You’re nearly set on making your decision, but there’s one last crucial step: talking to a client of a prospective ERP vendor.  

Most vendors can provide you with a testimonial of a job well done, but let’s be honest, such testimonials are given shortly after launch. It’s telling if a vendor is able to connect you with one of their clients who can walk you through their experience. Make sure you ask about ongoing support, training, and their relationship with the vendor.

We understand how important it is for your ERP implementation to be successful.

Selecting the right ERP system lays the groundwork, but there are many more decisions to come as you pursue the implementation. If you have questions about ERP software, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of ERP specialists.
Adnan Patel
Adnan Patel
Principal, Consulting
Steven Parker
Steven Parker
Managing Director, Consulting
Alejandro Alvarez
Alejandro Alvarez
Senior Manager