Whether you are looking to invest in your first ERP system or are just upgrading an older system, there are a lot of factors to consider before taking the plunge. Even adding a warehouse management system or EDI to your existing software requires a deep look at your current infrastructure in order to ensure a successful project.
A business process assessment can help you discover the best fit for your company’s needs. Companies also need to do a technical analysis of their IT infrastructure.
Include Your IT Administrator in the Decision Making Process
It seems like common sense in hindsight, but too often, IT staff is rarely involved in the actual software selection process. They are brought in after the fact to make everything work. If your ERP implementation partner isn’t insisting on speaking with your IT administrator to get a better understanding of your current IT infrastructure, that should be a red flag. Some ERP software isn’t compatible with older server software and PC operating systems. It is vital to have a clear picture of what your current infrastructure is in order to properly vet which ERP systems are going to work for your business. The ERP selection process is long enough as it is. Imagine selecting a software, approving the budget and then finding out that you will need to add an additional $10-20 thousand dollars onto the price tag in order to upgrade your servers and PCs.
What are the Alternatives to Investing in New Infrastructure?
So you’ve audited your current systems and have come to the conclusion that in order to upgrade your software and stay competitive you need to also upgrade all of your hardware. For small to mid-sized manufacturers and distributors, that can sometimes nearly double the total project budget. One alternative to buying new servers is moving to a cloud hosted ERP solution. You are still purchasing the software licenses, but instead of installing it on your own infrastructure, the burden of upgrading and maintaining servers, firewalls and antivirus software shifts to your hosting partner.
It doesn’t matter if you have your own internal IT team or you outsource your IT needs to a 3rd party provider, whomever is administering your IT infrastructure plays a critical role in a successful implementation. Companies that include their IT team in the decision making process as well are more likely to choose a system that best fits their organization’s needs and could ultimately save them thousands of dollars.