Quite often when you set yourself a budget, be it for anything from a wedding to financial software, you need to be wary that costs don’t spiral out of control.
An enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is designed to support the growth of your business without breaking the bank! But even if you have a tight budget doesn’t despair – here are five useful tips to maximize the bang for your buck.
Consider you options and prices carefully it shouldn’t be a secret. Ensure all vendors provide upfront costs to eliminate any surprises. Remember to include all components, not only the solution itself but implementation costs (licenses, training etc) and maintenance costs. An affordable solution is one that can be maintained without too many ongoing infrastructure and resource expenses. Even if a product seems cheaper initially, remember to consider any ongoing costs, or the expense of upgrading to a new system in several years if your original selection cannot manage your company’s growth. With the growth of mobile you should also consider your deployment options – which may prove beneficial in terms of budget.
Ensure you are only paying for what you use, but utilize what you pay for. Consider limiting your initial investment, and choose a system with the ability to add functionality as your business grows. It’s equally important to ensure you are maximizing the out-of-the-box functionality your chosen software already has, so you are getting the most out of your system. Consider a solution with a modular design, so it is flexible enough to expand and be customized to your needs, limiting the need to integrate other software. For example you may need to support additional currencies, asset maintenance or business intelligence but flexibility is key to keeping costs down.
The longer an implementation takes, the more it will cost. So seek out a tried and tested solution and vendor, with the experience to implement best practice methodologies, thereby saving time and money. Also, ensure you have an in-house team dedicated to the project’s objectives and appropriate time is set aside for testing as internal processes can also delay a project. However it is also important to balance costs with a realistic timeframe – there is no point rushing a project to save money, as it will be more costly and time consuming to rectify mistakes.
IT is designed to streamline cost efficiency and improve productivity – not contribute to the problem. However for companies running disparate systems, too much time is often spent trying to troubleshoot and manage integration points between systems – and not enough time looking to reduce costs and get better efficiency. A single, integrated solution simplifies IT infrastructure, and provides a standardized view across the company. So be sure to select a system that will support business insight and potential global expansion.
Take advantage of any training opportunities with the vendor, or internally as a team. Often when budgets are tight, the investment in training is reduced or even eliminated. However it’s important to remember that in order to maximize your return on investment, employees need to have the tools to utilize the new system to its maximum capacity quickly.
Ultimately locate software that is affordable for your budget, but flexible enough to maximize efficiencies and benefit your company.