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  Selecting and buying ERP for business  
Summary: Steps you should take and questions you should ask when selecting an ERP solution.
You'll probably find the task of choosing ERP solutions that fit your business requirements somewhat daunting. That's why so many businesses opt for professional advice. And there are plenty of consulting organizations that have an in-depth understanding of the available solutions and their functionality. But before you go to them for help, you need to consider the solution from three broad perspectives:
Organizational — You need to consider the size and structure of your organization. Map out your strategic goals. Then carefully choose the level of automation you desire to achieve them. But make sure this fits within your budget.
Functional — ERP software is modular in nature. It generally splits into functions such as accounting, manufacturing, HR and CRM. Within this, each module can have sub-modules with hundreds of reports, forms and functions. During the selection process, evaluate the software functions with sample historical data to find the best match. It is vital to identify the functions and features in the new ERP system that will provide meaningful and quick access to data.
Technology and Vendor Selection — Other than the usual due diligence activities for vendor selection, keep in mind the system requirements and underlying technologies that power the product your vendor provides. These may have significant bearing on your future organizational objectives. Ask questions like these:
  • Does the product depend largely on proprietary hardware and software back-end technologies and is it likely to increase staff training and overall cost of ownership?
  • Should I choose PC-based software or a Web-based application?
  • Does the product plug into widely accepted reporting tools?


A vital step in choosing an ERP system is the selection of a project manager. The project manager acts as a liaison with vendors, coordinates internal needs assessments and creates a selection team, which should represent all the business units in your organization.
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