ERP comparison is a staple activity of any enterprise software selection project. Many companies try to focus on feature comparison as their method of evaluating vendors. Today there are many websites and services that provide feature comparisons for free or for a fee.
But, feature comparison only tells part of the story when comparing ERP vendors.
5 Criteria of ERP Comparison
There are five main areas of criteria for every ERP comparison exercise.
It is important to understand the size of the ERP software vendor, its resources, mission, markets served, and direction in the market. Does this vendor have the resources to keep your company abreast of technology changes? Can this vendor be a great partner for the next 15 to 20 years?
When evaluating a vendor’s technology, it is important to ask: is the vendor’s technology direction in alignment with your company’s technology strategy?
Evaluating function fit involves identifying how the vendor’s software meets the goals as defined in your company’s business process future state.
It is important to understand how the structure of the vendor’s support “ecosystem.” This includes information like:
- User group
- Industry focus groups
- Other customers in your industry
Cost of Ownership
When evaluating a vendor’s solution, you should look at the total cost of ownership over at least a five-year period, including the following costs:
- License fee
- Annual fee
- Implementation fees
- Internal support costs
- Ongoing internal and external costs
We deliver a “decision criteria” table that can be populated with facts and evaluations by your team as you progress through the ERP selection project.
ERP Comparison Best Practices
While there are several steps you must take to ensure you are comparing potential ERP solutions correctly and effectively, here are 4 main best practices.
Assess Usability, Look, Feel
Usability, or how easy the system is to use by the entire enterprise, is a key factor in ERP comparison. When comparing ERP systems, make sure the software is simple to use and makes the user’s job easier. Does it make good use of technology such as ease of navigation, integration, intuitive reports? Be sure to compare in an “apple-to-apple” fashion as needed.
Compare Industry Fit
When comparing systems, be sure to concentrate on a short list of vendors serving your industry. From job shop to cell-type organizations, to highly complex process manufacturing, compare ERP systems that address your unique needs. Each manufacturing style, process, and industry has a completely unique set of requirements when it comes to ERP comparison.
Evaluate Data Integration
With each vendor, be sure you understand how your legacy data will be migrated. This plays into the enterprise software implementation processes for each vendor. Understand the full implementation process and costs as you compare systems.
Consider System Customizations
Most systems aren’t effective right out of the box. Make sure to compare how your top vendors can let users create new screens, ERP reports, dashboards and other reporting by user roles. Will changes to this process be supported over time?
Our independent ERP consultant organization will bring you decades of experience in helping manufacturing organizations work through effective ERP comparison. We will help you focus on key criteria, which will provide a foundation of information, education, and documentation set to increase your project success.