With the ability to centralize key business components, identify and allocate resources and custom-mold itself to fit a wide array of industry-specific needs, it’s no surprise that enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has taken root within organizations of all shapes and sizes. ERP platforms serve as the most comprehensive solution for back-end organization.
Similar to a game of chess, when choosing to implement ERP software, there are many routes to decipher and ultimately decide on. In an ever-changing market with product releases happening around the clock, many have begun to speculate what’s to come for ERP in 2015.
Be sure to keep these current ERP trends in mind when shopping for your perfect ERP solution:
When researching software platforms, many people often wonder which deployment option is better for them. SaaS solutions typically offer a lower initial cost, as the servers and equipment are owned and maintained by the product provider. On-premise options usually require more time for start-up and management, but the company’s information remains within the company network. Additionally, consider the regular updates that are required to keep the software up to date — SaaS solutions allow for quick updates without the hassle required to manage on-premise counterparts.
While it appeared for a while that SaaS solutions would soon take over, on-premise platforms have become more flexible in the workplace. Makers of ERP solutions are noticing the benefits of both types of solutions and have grown their offerings to include both SaaS and on-premise options as a hybrid solution. In the coming year, consumers will face a wider selection of platforms that offer more functionality, better agility and improved scalability in all three of these deployment options.
When it comes down to implementing a new solution or upgrading an old model, cost is surely to be a component when making your short list. Unfortunately, the costs associated with launching an ERP platform can vary greatly based on deployment model, number of users, amount of customization and integration capability, as well as the training of your team.
With the adoption of hybrid solutions, users may see a slight drop in overall costs. That being said, ERP software is still far from nickels and dimes. On average, customers can expect to pay $2,000 to $4,000 per user. For smaller companies that lack a dedicated IT team, consider SaaS solutions over on-premise to better manage the costs of maintaining the technology and equipment.
The implementation of an ERP solution is not as easy as one would imagine; which is why we hear of companies’ flopped attempts from time to time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your ERP solution won’t be either. While there may be pressure to get the ball rolling, the timeline for implementation should remain realistic. Taking adequate time to train users and implement the tools from the ground up will afford the different teams to see the benefit and value of the solution. What’s more, associates may be more willing to comply with the changes that come with the implementation of a new program after thorough training.
Performance of ERP systems should be on the rise in the coming year, due to the improvements to the user interface and experience. Although the look and feel of the tools may become simplified, the functionality should remain as comprehensive as ever. With the evolution of the digital realm, more ERP platforms have begun to put more emphasis on mobile capabilities — allowing users to manage key aspects on the go.
Anyone who has used an ERP platform before understands the sheer complexity and depth that the tool offers. This year, users should expect to see revitalized solutions with a greater focus on the user experience and design. ERP providers are allowing for more customization than ever, allowing companies to meet specific needs with less time and less manual effort.
In recent years, reports of security breaches, hacks and malware have littered headlines and have proven that even the big guys aren’t perfect when it comes to managing cyber security. When considering an ERP system, be sure that the compliance regulations for your industry or jurisdiction are met within the tools you seek. By researching and partnering with the correct ERP partner now, you may be potentially saving your company millions of dollars and an unfathomable amount of stress if a breach were to happen down the road.
Photo courtesy of Obsidian Photography.