As someone who works in a consultancy, a design or engineering company, or an architectural or software firm, projects management is an everyday concern for you. Your current software is hit and miss. You have management software, accounting software, an Excel file bursting with macros or even an aging ERP solution that brings them all together. In any case, you're starting to see cracks appearing. Perhaps it's time to invest in an integrated specialist management software for business management. Here are a few questions you should ask first.
What exactly is enterprise resource planning?
Enterprise resource planning (or ERP) is now more important than ever. Faster processes, more reliable scheduling, simpler decision-making: these are just a few of the factors that could give you the edge in a very competitive market.
ERP is the integrated management of all your core business processes drawn from different departments: quoting, invoicing, time logs, accounting, dashboards, management control, performance indicators, etc.
Like any ERP solution, ERP software for business management is primarily designed to bring together a company's operational and financial processes in a single piece of software.
What about project management?
Understanding what project management entails is a must when it comes to choosing the right ERP solution for your company.
Companies that deal with order upon order can, of course, work on a project basis for some things, but their core business will still be production. However, for companies that manage their business processes, their core business is project delivery. Their clients entrust them to deliver typically time-sensitive jobs that involve several team members.
To be sustainable, this way of organising a business schedule places monitoring at the heart of an integrated approach to project management:
- managing the separate phases of business processes
- monitoring the time spent on each project/site/job
- organising data analytically
- tracking forecasts by task and stage
- managing accounts and invoicing.
Who provides support during the ERP software rollout?
Choosing the right software for your business is only one of the ERP implementation steps.
- Do you know exactly what change management your ERP solution involves?
- Have you set up a specific project team to re-evaluate your management system?
- What are your plans for staff support when the new ERP solution goes live?
What should you include in your ERP specifications?
What a question! You and your colleagues have gone to great lengths to put together a useful document. But in all honesty, don’t worry too much about it. Why not? Well, you should really work with what's out there on the market, unless you decide to go for a custom package – and it's in your best interests to resist the lure of specific developments.
However, you should still first run an audit of your existing software to help you figure out what you need. What's more, we've written an article about this very subject.
Have you worked out the depreciation period for your ERP software?
Getting a business management software is not an easy decision. It can transform your working practices, mean a long-term commitment for your company, and entail significant investment down the line.
When you're working out how much your software will depreciate, think about the initial investment and also how much it costs to run the package. The cost will vary greatly depending on whether you have a local package or SaaS, and a generic or business-specific solution. Factors include:
- buying or hiring servers
- purchasing licences
- performing maintenance
- managing updates
- integrating custom developments
- managing operational and technical issues.
Is your ERP solution interoperable?
When it comes to choosing your ERP, you should think about having (or developing) an API (Application Programming Interface) to automatically send information from your business applications to your ERP solution. Ask your software developer/integration specialist if their ERP is interoperable. If not, it's not for you.
Have you looked at ERP case studies?
Sometimes, the best way of finding out if business management and budgeting software is right for your company is to look at other companies’ experiences.
So, to wrap up this quickfire rundown of questions you should ask before choosing your software, here are some testimonials of clients who have chosen our ERP solution. We hope you enjoy reading their stories. And if you like what you see, get in touch for a free demo of our tool!