The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software marketplace is mature and crowded with excellent software tools for a variety of use cases, industries, deployment methods and budgets.

To help you evaluate prospective ERP products, below are the top four key capabilities to consider before making your choice. If you find this helpful, be sure to check out our ERP Buyer’s Guide, which features five questions to ask yourself and the solution providers before purchasing, a comprehensive overview of the market, and full, one-page profiles of the top-24 ERP vendors, including our Bottom Line analysis.

Financial supervision

An ERP solution with a strong financial feature should ensure companies meet economic reporting and tax requirements with a single accounting, banking, and payment system. It needs to allow for enhancements in financial performance with real-time information on expenses and profits contribution. Lastly, your ERP should help improve cash flow, lower costs, and increase profitability while maintaining accurate financial reporting.

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

As ERP solutions mainly cater to manufacturing and distribution companies, it should absolutely be able to monitor demand, supply, manufacturing status, logistics and distribution in record time. Failing to find information, such as the location of a product’s key components, and promptly share this information with supply partners, can have a significant shock on a company’s supply chain. Your ERP solution should aid in all supply chain processes.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

An ERP tool should help bring data together to enable salespeople and marketing planners alike to better address customer needs, preferences and buying patterns. It should better manage invoicing activities, provide relevant and real-time in turn for the best-prepared proposals and monitor the overall status of contracts to help you gain a better understanding and be kept informed at all times.

Project Management

An ERP solution should allow companies to select the best projects, assign the proper resources, streamline delivery efforts and track profitability. It needs to help change management, time and expense reporting, billing and collecting payment activities. Ultimately, your ERP solution needs to provide an entire snapshot of the project lifecycle so you are kept up-to-date by way of everything happening throughout the organization from back to front office functions.