What to consider when selecting a system for your business.

ERP, Finance, Supplychain and Operations.

When deciding to select a system to manage data for your business the first thing to decide is what function do i need the system to deal with? Do you want it for project tracking and management, time management, inventory management, financials, operational tracking or all of these?

You then also want to think about who are the users of this system? Do you require multiple licenses to cover your needs? Are there cost breaks for certain amounts? Can you control permissions easily for certain staff or divisions? Do you require access for clients to data sets? What functionality are you looking for? (we will expand on this under 'What is the system required to deliver?')

Finally Maintenance and service/upgrades support. Is additional support handled as part of the license fee or is this a further cost?

What is the system required to deliver?

What is the main problem you are looking to cover right now? how do you want to capture this data? Is there additional hardware available and what does this cost? Will you need to add additional bespoke functionality for what you desire?

Keep in mind the requirements to run the system also behind this with requirements for any additional terminals and servers for storage etc.

Not everyone can buy an off the shelf software and run with it out of the box but don't reinvent something that is there for the sake of process or worse buy another system to run along side. It is important to fully grasp and communicate what you expect and desire from a system and how these functions could work for you otherwise you risk creating a costly system which is a patch work of programming and reporting Bolt-ons that no one likes using.

How do you want to report?

When selecting a system a lot of the time its about how it reconciles and reports the data fed in from around the business, it can also be about the flexibility to use that data either in changing its display on the system or exporting for further manipulation, (who said excel!).

What outputs are desired? Can you get access to a dashboard overview? Are data sets filterable and can be driven on set criteria? is it cloud based for mobile access and reporting?

Also keep in mind does the system update in real time and do you want it to?

Have you thought of future proofing?

As a final thought it is worth understanding the additional capabilities of the system and how they interact for future expansion weather they are MRP functions or the ability to create work centres for resource loading or MRP2. Many systems cover many aspects and some will suit your industry and requirements better than others ensure they are capable, well developed and have further possibilities so you don't end up left behind due to a clunky system.

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