5 Unexpected Things To Expect Before ERP Implementation: Can Selecting Right Vendor Help?

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5 Unexpected Things To Expect Before ERP Implementation: Can Selecting Right Vendor Help?

Remember, a good ERP system ‘ideally’ should have an impact on every part of your business. Here we are talking about an ‘ideal’ condition. Reality can be far from ‘ideal’. With countless ERP softwares available in the market, it becomes almost impossible to select the right ERP solution which fits your organization. When you are a first time buyer, the choice becomes more difficult as you can face a number of challenges. Identifying these challenges in the planning stage can solve a lot of problems; the primary being selecting the right vendor.

Do not be confused with too many options

As a business owner, it is crucial to establish, define and understand the unique business processes of the company. If required, prepare a list of questions for the ERP vendor. You not only need the right software, but also the right vendor. Remember, when it comes to ERP solution, it’s not a one-size fits all situation. For example, if you are in the manufacturing or export industry, you will need a reliable ERP software like Expand ERP. With an expert ERP solution like ExpandERP, you will be promised end-to-end solutions which will fulfill the specific requirements of your business

Enquire about the technology specifications of the ERP solution

While selecting the right ERP, think of the technology that the ERP solution is using. Ask whether the ERP solution is turnkey or will be customized as per the organization’s business processes. If the ERP solution is scalable, will it be able to adapt to the growing users or increases in data? Ask about the speed of the product and how it will impact the end user. Another major concern of the organization is whether there will be possible support for multi-company or multi-site environments if the company wants to work on multiple operations. Now, this is where ExpandERP is different from other ERP solutions; as it is hosted on cloud it helps to quickly migrate legacy systems and implement most advanced technology features across different processes and departments effortlessly.

Think about data quality control

Two of the most common data challenges that a company faces while implementing a new ERP system is replacing legacy data and think about a process to consolidate separate solutions. A business should decide on the kind of data which needs to be collected for business processes and operations. This will be closely followed by the clearance of any duplicate or inaccurate data which was part of the previous system.
An expert vendor like eDominar will help you to guide you through the entire process and map the migration of the newly refined data to the new file format. It is absolutely crucial that all data is balanced prior to going live. Remember that the data integrity of the new system can either make or break the implementation of ERP. With ExpandERP, there is absolutely no requirement for in-house IT infrastructure or upgrades. You need not worry about data backup of security.

Talk about the true expenses of the ERP solution

Before you select the vendor or sign a contract, you need to determine the rough estimate of ROI. As a business owner you are likely to evaluate the cost of the ERP platform and whether it is okay to pay that amount, considering the functionalities it will offer. Also, many organizations have the concern whether the charges will be one-time or if they will be recurring. In case, it is the latter, you need to figure out whether or not the organization can afford that amount. You also need to find out about the annual maintenance charges.

Once you evaluate all these expenses, do a quick review about the ROI; your investment should not be more than the projected returns. The Expand team takes care of any user query over remote desktop and phone support at zero expense. As it is a cloud ERP, there will be automatic statutory updates. New reporting changes and new features will get rolled out instantaneously at zero cost.

Will the ERP solution adapt to the business?

A successful ERP implementation depends on the users and their willingness to adapt to new processes and systems. The best way to manage ERP is from top down. It is essential that managers and executives are integrated to the system, so that employees can follow them.

Check out edominer and Cloud ERP Software for one of the effective ERP solutions for your business.

How Top Erp Software Companies In India Can Help Fill The Information Gap

Business firms are under consistent pressure from clients, shareholders, and suppliers to constantly enhance, to improve items speedier – and all the more effectively. Some major top ERP software companies in India have executed ERP applications; either created in-house or off the rack items, to end up more receptive to the client needs and improve their organizations. They, as a result, need to change over their industrial facilities into responsive, request driven, benefit making undertakings by advancing assembling operations. Their upper hand and extreme survival relies on upon the utilization of data frameworks and innovation.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) frameworks have gotten to be synonymous with upper hand, particularly all through the 1990s. ERP frameworks supplant disconnected data with a solitary, bundled programming arrangement that coordinates all customary undertaking administration capacities like financials, HR, and assembling and logistics. 
Begun with an IT application to handle the stock issues of big business in the 1960s, the ERP frameworks brought a typical data database which helped business elements of the association to move their reasoning to a venture level from a departmental level.
Programming sellers need to investigate answers for grasp the idea of interest driven supply system (DDSN) and empower the undertakings to end up more request driven. Experts demonstrate that half of the considerable number of organizations doesn’t have an unmistakable perceivability over their supply system, in spite of having IT frameworks, as these frameworks are not legitimately coordinated.
The significant test to the ERP sellers is henceforth to give consistent mixes between all their amplified ERP applications, which can help ventures, turn into an interest driven association. The up and coming era of big business applications should grasp better building capacities to make the incorporations more fitting and play, as opposed to being tight indicate point combinations.
Administration Oriented Architecture: One of the key business sector patterns is the innovation change to an administration-arranged engineering (SOA), which will have the biggest impact on rethinking the ERP market.
As showed by examiners, administration arranged engineering would change programming from being an inhibitor to an empowering influence of business change, by 2015.
SOA will move income from bundled programming to membership administrations and from solid suites to composite applications.
SOA is a way to deal with planning, actualizing, and sending data frameworks such that the framework is made from segments executing discrete business capacities. These parts called “administrations” can be appropriated crosswise over geology, crosswise over big business, and can be reconfigured into new business process as required.
The administrations are “approximately coupled” taking into consideration a great deal more adaptability than more seasoned advances as for re-utilizing and re-consolidating the administrations to make new business capacities both inside and crosswise over association.
The future objective of a large portion of the ERP merchants is to give an upgraded estimation of the introduced frameworks, by acquiring the services of top ERP software companies in India and by improving the item with extra components, both utilitarian, specialized and ones that are usable.

GOLDILOCKS AND ERP DECISIONS

GOLDILOCKS AND ERP DECISIONS

ERP Decisions

Goldilocks, SMEs and the quest for ‘Just Right!’

“Goldilocks was wandering through the forest when she chanced upon a house. Famished and tired, she entered and was delighted to see three bowls of porridge to quell her hunger pangs. She tasted the first bowl and exclaimed that it was too hot. The second bowl’s porridge was far too cold. The third bowl however was just right for her and she soon gobbled it all up”

Small and medium sized enterprises are the proverbial Goldilocks of the business world. While Goldilocks strolled aimlessly through the woods in need of food and nourishment, these firms wander through the business world, in need of a solution to help them cope and compete in their industry.Goldilocks had to taste all the bowls of porridge to find the one that was ‘just right’ for her. Much in the same way as Goldilocks, firms also have to go through all the available options to determine which solution is ‘just right’ for their needs.

Just as Goldilocks was famished and in need of nourishment, a firm in today’s hyper competitive environment requires enterprise resource planning solutions to address its needs and hunger for growth. The solutions offered may be ‘too hot’ with far too many components, complexities and costs that would burn the firm. A ‘too cold’ ERP system without the necessary modules to meet the requirements of the firm is not a desirable solution either. An SME can neither have a ‘too hot’ solution or a ‘too cold’ one as both would hurt them and their prospects for growth.

So what is the ‘Just Right!’ solution?

1)The porridge that is ‘just right’ is sufficient in quantity to alleviate Goldilocks’ hunger, nourishing enough to help her grow and at a temperature that renders the meal palatable.

2) Similarly the ERP that is ‘just right’ has all the modules and programs necessary to meet the firm’s current and more pressing business needs, while the system aids the company’s future growth plans – all at an affordable cost. The ‘just right’ ERP should meet the firm’s current pressing needs and the future more complex needs for growth.

3) Most SMEs would find that their Goldilocks solution is a mostly standard ERP system with minimal to moderate customization and costs. Cloud-based enterprise resource planning programs are suitable for these firms as they are affordable and have the scope to be easily modified to meet the firm’s growing needs in the future.

“After finishing the porridge, Goldilocks felt tired and went over to the living room and found three chairs. She sat in the first one and exclaimed “this chair is too big!” The second chair was too big for Goldilocks as well. The third chair appeared to be just right in size for Goldilocks but as soon as she settled in, it broke apart completely!”

When Goldilocks is tired she goes over to a chair, settles into one that appears just right in size. The chair and Goldilocks both come crashing down. Firms with an enterprise resource planning system that opt for the bare minimal support get the same experience. Much like how the ‘just right’ chair was anything but, firms need to be wary of ERP solutions that provide the bare minimum and provide no flexibility or scope for adapting to a growing business.

     As a firm implements the system and starts reaping benefits from the ERP, it starts to increase its efficiency, productivity and growth. The ERP system and vendor should provide adequate support to aid the firm with any troubles it meets along the way. Programs that update automatically and keep the system running on the latest, most efficient system would be ideal for SMEs. A vendor that provides regular support services and is specialized in providing industry-specific solutions would be suitable as they can anticipate the firm’s needs effectively and intuitively as a result of their experience. It is essential that the ERP system and vendor must be capable of increasing the number of modules and services when the scope of the business changes – otherwise the firm may suffer the same fate as Goldilocks.

“Goldilocks feeling sleepy, proceeded upstairs and found three bed. She lay on the first and found it far too hard. The second was far too soft. She tried the third bed, and it was ‘just right’ and she promptly fell asleep.”
   
   Just like Papa Bear’s bed, which was too hard for Goldilocks, a large vendor’s solutions may not be suitable for small and medium enterprises. The big names of the ERP industry are more experienced in addressing the needs of large conglomerates. Their programs, modules and systems are all designed meet to the needs of the Fortune 500s and SMEs often find their solutions uncomfortable. Mama Bear’s bed, being far too soft, was also not right for Goldilocks. Similarly, ERP vendors that are too inexperienced or just offer a few individual modules may not be able to provide quality solutions for the firm.

 Vendors that are specifically focused on providing solutions for SMEs would be more suitable for compared to the ‘big players’ like SAP and Oracle. An out-the-box solution with minimal modifications is enough to meet all the current and future needs of most SMEs at a fraction of the cost of the big firms.

   Much like Goldilocks, firms can experiment with their ERP programs and vendors before settling into their ‘just right’ systems. Firms can draw some wisdom from Goldilocks as well – that is to not settle for anything that is not ‘just right’. When choosing an ERP system firms must keep in mind that it is a long term decision. Unlike Goldilocks, once they choose their bed, they will be lying in it for quite a while.

Contributor : Vidushi

Custom Road to Failure

How heavy customization doom projects

Big firms such as Nike planned to go the whole nine yards ensuring that their ERP system would be absolutely custom fitted to their needs and desires. Sure, the additional modifications and

customisations would indeed add a few more thousands to their ever growing expenses, and the project may get delayed by a month or two, but in the end it would work out perfectly right? Wrong. The $400 million upgrade to the supply chain and ERP system resulted in the company losing $100 million in sales and their stocks crashed by 20% as a result of this fiasco.

The failure of the ERP system can wreak havoc for any company. Excessive ERP customization is often blamed for these disasters. ERP customization refers to the process of modifying the existing software and programs as per the requirements of the firm. Customizing the ERP program takes a lot of additional resources, time and financial investment –and it almost inevitably results in the project going way over budget and gives a system where the company has to rely on non-tested functionalities. A case in point would be the United States Navy who sunk over $ 1 billion in four different ERP projects that all resulted in failures.

The following are three main reasons why custom-made solutions end up causing more problems than ever before:

Increased Complexity and long term costs:

A company that demands heavy modifications to the system has to invest large upfront capital before they can reap the benefits of the ERP. Often time the changes are very narrowly focused and even minor deviations in business practices or related legal regulations render the entire system outdated. Once the firm has invested large capital in an on premise system, they are financially bound to a certain degree to continue using the system and upgrade the same solution for years to come. The ERP programs have to be individually customized each time the ERP system has to be updated to support the evolving industrial environment.

Upgrades to the system are continually delayed

ERP vendors periodically release new versions of their software and add new features and services. A customized ERP system is not able to mesh fully with the new version and data is often lost in the process. The firm is dependent on customization consultants to alter the customized codes each time that the system has to be updated – which adds a significant amount to the ongoing operational expenses. These additional expenses and problems are a hindrance when the firm decides to update heavily customized system. Companies tend to delay the upgrades to their system – sometimes indefinitely. This makes the company vulnerable as it is not able to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment and requirements.

Best practices are compromised

ERP vendors expend a significant amount on R&D to develop the best, standardized system that incorporate the industrial and legal requirements. Customisations to the system may result in the company failing to adhere to the industrial best practices and cause a lot of financial and legal woes.

If a company finds that it needs to customize the entire ERP system, it would generally indicate that the chosen solution is not the ideal one for them. Looking for an industry-specific ERP solution would help the firm in minimizing the amount of customisations required to make the system compatible with the business needs.

Companies need to understand beforehand that heavily customizing their ERP system greatly escalates the potential for disaster. The initial upfront investments required are exponentially greater and both the short and long term operational costs are significantly higher. The industrial best practices tend to be compromised in the long run and the consistent delays in updating the system leads to the firm becoming a dinosaur in the dynamic business world.

Contributor : Vidushi

SOFTWARE VS. SYSTEM

SOFTWARE VS. SYSTEM

A piece of a larger puzzle

The terms ‘accounting software’ and ‘ERP’ are often used interchangeably, but there is a vast

difference among the two. The casual interchangeability in the usage of the two terms has caused confusion among some SMEs about what is the exact difference in the software vs. system. The confusion between the two may have risen as companies that offered accounting software added more features and modules overtime and expanded into full ERP solution providers.

The accounting software that companies used previously dealt solely with financial transactions. The sales of goods, purchase of materials and order tracking were the main features of software solution. Accounting softwares include accounting information such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, trial balances etc. Other frequently bundled functions include billing, expenses, time sheets and sales and purchase orders.

Enterprise resource planning systems encompasses a much broader area and address more business functions. The ERP package covers functions beyond accounting and also factors in qualitative and intangible data. Production planning, ordering, customer relationship management, warehousing, inventory tracking, business intelligence business analytics are comprised within the ERP package. An organization with a fully implemented ERP has greater integration of data and information, better intra-organizational communication and streamlined processes. ERP systems allow a more in-depth view of each function of the organization. Thus ERP results greater transparency and control and by providing real time automatic reports it allows managers to make quick and correct business decisions.

Let’s take the ExpandERP system as an example which offers accounting solutions with financial management, budgeting, receipts and payments included. The package offers much more with customer relationship management, export, procurement and business intelligence modules as well. The entire system integrates and combines the data and with its business intelligence can help predict future profits and losses, lower cost of production by increasing purchase order efficiency, lower operational costs and over time boost the company’s growth.

An accounting software is a part of the ERP package. One can view the accounting solution as a part of the larger jigsaw puzzle that is ERP. While the system would be incomplete without the accounting part, it consists of far more parts that are combined together to form the big integrated ERP picture. Enterprise resource planning offers more than just financial book-keeping and delves into making the whole companies processes as streamlined and efficient as possible. Though the accounting and financial management module is one of the most integral part of the ERP package, its functionalities go far beyond.

Contributor : Vidushi 

 

BAD CRM CAN KILL (COMPANIES)

BAD CRM CAN KILL (COMPANIES)

With the advent of the social customer, businesses nowadays have to be far more careful in their interactions with buyers. One miffed customer can spell a PR disaster for companies.When Jeff Jarvis bought a Dell computer which soon malfunctioned, his repeated calls and mails to the customer service were met with either stony silence or unhelpful automated responses. Becoming disgruntled with the service, he wrote a scathing review on his blog, entitled “Dell Hell” that was shared widely across the internet. Around 10,000 people saw the post each day and shared their equally negative experience with the company. The top management only took notice when the story was shared in the mainstream media – almost too late. The company quickly jumped into action to assure Jarvis and the other bloggers that the matter would be fixed as soon as possible; however, the PR damage was done. In 2006 the company announced that it would be spending $100 million and ‘a lot of blood, sweat and tears’ to fix the issue. A costly disaster to say the least.

In today’s world, where each and every disgruntled customer may lead to a public relations disaster for a company, it becomes essential for businesses to deploy a smooth customer relation management program. To survive in this social setting, a solid CRM system is vital.

A good CRM system gives companies the following key advantages:

  • Allows customers to have seamless interactions with relevant persons in the organization to answer their queries and issues
  •  Gives greater automation to routine processes saving valuable time and resources for the company
  • With data analytics, it enables companies to predict their most valuable potential customers – and ensure optimal contact to secure their loyalty
  •  Creates a faster, more efficient customer relationship system
  •  Increases word of mouth publicity and sales

Had Dell employed a more thoughtful approach to their CRM strategy, perhaps it may have been able to save its blood, sweat, tears and money.

Contributor : Vidushi

How to choose the right ERP?

How to choose the right ERP?

Choosing among the various ERP options can be a daunting task. With a large number of vendors and options, businesses need to be careful and choose the system that best suits them. The right ERP program can boost the organization’s productivity, lower operating costs and set the company on a path of growth.The plethora of options available need to be carefully assessed to decide on the most suitable system for their needs. The following are some key aspects to keep in mind when weighing your choices:

Have a specific, concrete list of requirement

The foremost task for businesses should be to list out their requirements of the ERP system. The enterprise should pinpoint the current challenges and issues it faces, and how it expects the ERP system to solve it.
The company should identify the specific business processes and key functions required. If the organization already has a system in place and is looking for a new system to match its needs, it should identify the key issues and problems of the current program and voice their concerns to the ERP vendors.
Optimally, companies should opt for ERP programs that address the industry specific needs. Having an extensive ERP system where the majority of the components are not used by the organization is a waste of organizational resources. The functionalities required by the business need to be specified in advance to target the most suitable ERP providers.

Technological requirements and Compatibility

The companies must consider options that are compatible with their business and resources at hand. It should note if the ERP program requires additional hardware, servers and IT related investments. If the company needs a system with their current technology it should opt for vendors that cater to their specific need.
For instance, the majority of small and mid-sized enterprises use computers that run on a Microsoft operating system, and frequently use Word, Excel, Access etc. for business purposes. For these companies, a .NET ERP program would be compatible with their current system and integrate well with the existing framework.

Cost of ERP and Payment Options

The company must consider the options that are within their budget. The cost of implementing the ERP is an important consideration. Some key questions would be whether the ERP deployment requires large upfront payment or investment or does the vendor offer a pay-as-you-go, monthly or yearly subscription option. Another issue to keep in mind if the cost of updating the ERP when the subscription runs out. Businesses should choose programs that are scalable and can be altered as needed to suit the needs of a growing business.

Accessibility and User-friendliness

Businesses must be clear on how much accessibility they want to allow their users. Typically onsite ERP systems are very restricted in nature and can only be accessed within the premises of the office. Cloud based systems allow users to access the data from any part of the world using their web browser. Businesses can choose between an onsite, cloud or a combination ERP system.
A key aspect to consider is the user friendliness of the ERP software. Would employees require extensive training to use the program or is the ERP system intuitive and easy to use? The cost of training employees and the additional time required must be considered. The highly competitive nature of the current business environment requires the company data be accessible by users through the computers, mobile devices and tablets. In order to maximize the benefits of ERP and increase productivity companies should choose a program that would be compatible with multiple devices and operating systems.

Implementation and Customization

The organization must consider how long a particular ERP system take to be successfully deployed and fully functional. The implementation process and the time frame must be considered. Onsite ERP programs take an average of 12 months to be implemented whereas cloud based programs take approximately 3 to 6 months. Typically, the greater the customization of the program, the longer the deployment period. Additionally a highly customized program costs more, not only initially but each time when the program is renewed and updated as well.
A highly customized system would address the need to the enterprise better but would require more time to tailor, implement and cost more. It would also take additional time whenever the program is renewed and updated as the customisation have to be re-done. The companies need to strike a balance between the additional benefits of a customized program and the greater costs and time lags associated with it.

Vendor reputation and Support

Often not discussed but an important matter nonetheless is the vendor’s reputation. Is the vendor known to deliver upon his promises and are former and current clients satisfied with the services provided? A business may ask for references to clients in the same industry to obtain feedback about the vendor’s product and services.
The services offered by the ERP provider are another important aspect to consider. The enterprise needs to evaluate the support system of the vendor and the promptness of the support staff in addressing and rectifying issues that may arise with the ERP program.
A business must carefully weigh all key aspects and optional before choosing an ERP solution. It must be ensured that the system needs the requirements of the enterprise and is well suited to the organizational objectives.

Think before you build your own IT infrastructure

Due to the sheer complexity and volume of business, setting up on premise IT infrastructure is the first thing that comes to mind. It is costly. Maintaining IT with in-house or third-party support team is unmanageable.

Regular upgrade, update, patches, security fixes, troubleshooting compatibility issues are important for smooth business operation. Troubleshooting a software issue or printer issue or fixing hardware can sometimes take days due to limited in-house knowledge. Depending on third party can be time consuming due to their response time. For business, IT issues can cost dearly. It can lead to missing order deadlines and business can even lose customers. 
Every business or individual today is online on internet most of the time. We all use hosted applications in some way or the other like emailing, social media, file sharing or shared drives. With the increased penetration of Internet, more and more companies are looking to adopt more flexible, manageable and scalable infrastructure. The primary concern of the business owner is order fulfilment and customer retention. For proper management, Businesses needs undisrupted information flow and complete visibility of business. Moving to Cloud is the first step to empower the employees with world class IT infrastructure and better business continuity.  
 

Adopting Cloud is only one half of the solution. The other half is upgrading your legacy business application to Advanced Cloud based Enterprise Application. There will be advisors and providers for work arounds / patch for legacy applications but soon you will realise the pitfalls. In the globally competitive marketplace, your employees need robust and flexible application, that can custom fit the business and automate repetitive workload. This is ideal and most desirable solution for business success. This will lead to better efficiency and productivity. We at EXPAND ERP help mid-market with integration and automation to take advantage of latest in technology.

Contributor – Vineet

Common ERP Mistakes and How to Avoid Making Them

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are huge investments of money, resources and time. And while a successful ERP implementation can help your organisation streamline workflow and cut costs, a poorly planned and implemented ERP can severely cost organizations, in terms of lost productivity and delays. To help ensure your ERP implementation is a success, or at least to minimize potential problems we have come up with some common ERP mistakes and their fixes.
Common ERP Mistakes

Inadequate planning – Planning is absolutely necessary if you want your ERP project to succeed. Many organizations do not do enough forthright planning before they begin an ERP software evaluation which often leads to confusion because they might not fully understand their current processes and how to develop them to maximize business benefits and efficiencies. To solve this problem, organizations should conduct an internal assessment of all of their processes and policies before choosing an ERP system.

Not understanding or using key features. Without knowing features, companies miss opportunities to automate business processes, complete functions faster, and meet business objectives. To solve this problem, create a ist with all features, tracking usage, and occasionally reviewing the list to determine which features are being used and which are the most helpful. This knowledge catalog can be used to train new employees, write test scripts, and help with review, compliance, and reporting requirements.
Underestimating the time and resources required. All companies underestimate the time and resources required to implement a new ERP system. So how can you calculate the necessary time involved? The time involved can be estimated by dividing the cost of the software by 100. Double that number if you plan to self-implement with minimal professional assistance. It is important to assign a dedicated project manager.

Not having the right people on the team from the start. Sometimes, organizations do not bring the right people together from the very start of an ERP implementation. ERP implementation is one of the biggest projects an organization can undertake, and consequently, mistakes can be made and plans might get out tracked if the right stakeholders are not involved in every part of the decision-making process. For example, many organizations focus on getting executive approval, instead of gathering key participants from across the organization, from finance, operations, manufacturing, purchasing, and the warehouse, in addition to IT. The benefit: employees who are actively engaged with the ERP implementation, who have an investment in getting it right, right from the start.