That makes it difficult to predict the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. We provide expert guidance on how to choose the right global ERP solution that will support your business today and through future unknowns, along with some helpful tips on how to navigate Microsoft’s ERP offerings.
How to build your global ERP strategy
There are different approaches you could take in determining the best global ERP solution. Many companies base their decision solely on software selection criteria, such as technical fit and scalability. These criteria are important and should not be overlooked. However, at Pipol, we recommend first identifying your strategic ERP needs, in other words, the best strategic fit.
You can do this by investigating 6 key areas:
1. Strategy – What is your business strategy? What are your growth plans? How do you compete? What are your global processes? Which processes are and should remain local?
2. Organizational structure – How centralized is your organizational structure today? Are you moving towards a different model? Do you have the management, delegation, structure, processes and organizational behaviour to sustain and support the future vision?
ERP selection criteria
Once you have answered the above key questions about what you need to support your strategy, you can begin to zero in on the strengths and weaknesses of your potential ERP solution.
Use these 6 selection criteria to further guide you in your quest.
1. Deployment options – Cloud, on-premise or hybrid?
2. Scalability – Will it support you in years to come even if you have a new business model?
3. Technical fit – Look for a system that addresses your highest priority requirements and ask vendors to demonstrate different functionality
4. References – Ask for ones from organizations similar to your own
5. Return on investment – It will more likely be higher if your ERP system is configured based on optimized processes
6. Product viability – What’s the long-term outlook of the software you’re evaluating? Be sure the vendor won’t be going out of business any time soon.
Why business size matters
Most companies, big and small, want to take advantage of advanced ERP functionality. However, they don’t always want to give up simplicity, user-friendliness or affordability to obtain it. Sometimes those are the trade-offs you’ll need to consider if your business size is somewhere in the middle. However, how centralized your business is can be almost as important as size. Decentralized businesses have inherently more complexity, which requires more from an international ERP solution. Microsoft offers global ERP solutions designed for medium-sized and large enterprises. We can help you decide which is best for your business in our ERP Product Selection Workshop.
Why scalability is critical
The larger and more international your business, the more complex it is. If you are operating in several countries, you need an ERP solution that supports multiple languages, currencies and sets of regulations. And if you are planning to expand further, you need a system that will expand and scale with you. Be sure to have a clear picture of where your business is headed and how far your global ERP solution can go. Read three more reasons to consider an ERP solution that can scale.
What about CRM?
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP may overlap in some areas and can be completely integrated into others. However, as their core functionalities are completely different, it’s best to look first at them as separate, stand-alone systems. CRM includes all areas of the customer experience, keeping the customer happy and loyal. It is the process of identifying potential leads and prospects, nurturing them and guiding them through the sales process. CRM software is used to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing and customer service. Most companies have a CRM solution that integrates with their ERP solution.
Microsoft offers a CRM solution that integrates with both Finance and Operations and Business Central:
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Adaptable and affordable, Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides you with the capability to easily create and maintain a clear view of customers – from first contact through purchase and post-sales. It has a familiar interface, wizard-based tools and close integration with Microsoft Office system productivity applications.
Other third-party add-ons
As you investigate different ERP solutions, consider which third-party add-ons they support, and which ones would help optimize your ERP solution and your business. Most add-ons are designed for a certain industry. We can help recommend add-ons that are compatible with your solution and that will deliver the value you are looking for.