How To Choose The Right Cloud-Based ERP/CRM Software?
With so many things happening around Cloud Computing space and how the subscription-based software as service can be availed.
It becomes extremely important to know a bit about different ways through which you can select the right cloud-based ERP or CRM applications for your business.
Things can easily go haywire when you start looking at different solutions available in the market but if you consider a few points while selecting a solution or cloud platform, the time invested will be worth.
I have been in constant touch with many businesses that are looking to opt for cloud-based applications.
Based on the multiple discussions that happened with them, there are few things which every business should consider while opting for a cloud-based business application:
Before jumping into going through different products for your business, the business should do a SWOT analysis on where they are at present and where they want to go through the means of technology.
The objective needs to be discussed across departments and a conclusion should be made that “Why do we need an ERP/CRM or any other application”.
A clearly defined objective will be more than helpful in making a smooth transition path for the business in the future.
The business may or may not have any existing setup. Discussions should take place on what are the pain points business processes are going through and what needs to be done to get rid of those points.
For instance, the business might look for integrating all the processes, i.e. Finance, Purchase/Sales, Inventory, Manufacturing, etc. under one place and avoid any duplication of data.
A properly formulated requirement document should be prepared for a smooth implementation process. Those points can be discussed with your technology partner to learn what is achievable and what is not achievable in the standard system & what would be the workaround to achieve the requirements.
In case you are already using a solution, then questions related to additional functionality or wish lists should be discussed.
Implementing a cloud-based solution is a strategic business decision for any organization as it paves the way for future business outcomes.
A right product should be selected while considering the whole ecosystem in place and below points should be considered:
a) Standard out of the box integrations available with other applications.
b) A number of organizations already using the solution in the industry.
c) Product collaterals and videos available on the internet.
d) Access to the customer portal for product learning.
e) The flexibility of the solution.
Reporting is one area where all departments in the business invest time to keep track of the business performance on a weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual basis.
Top Management would primarily concern about the company’s performance on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.
Businesses investing in the solution should be aware of the reporting capabilities of the system.
If the standard system lacks the reporting capabilities, then what alternatives do they have.
Ideally, a good ERP/CRM solution must have its own Business Intelligence tool to get all the reports and dashboards on a run-time basis for better decision making.
Training needs to be a part of the implementation proposal since it will be a new system for the end-user and adequate training sessions must be arranged to help users understand the look and feel of the system.
Those sessions should be recorded & shared so that organizations don’t need to reach out to their technology partner for future reference.
It becomes extremely helpful when you will have new employees joining in the future and training them on the new system shouldn’t be a costly affair for the business.
New users can always refer to the recorded sessions to understand the product.
6.Total Cost of Ownership:
You can opt for a cloud solution by paying for the per user on a monthly basis.
However, it is always advisable to consider the total cost of ownership for at least 3-5 years.
It also needs to be known that since it will be a cloud-based application, you should get all future upgrades without relying on your technology partner.
7.Integration with third-party applications:
Most of the business applications now come with integration with third-party applications, all thanks to API.
However, that integration might increase the scope of work for the project and total cost of the project eventually which should be discussed with the technology vendor.
It is always recommended if standard integrations with the required applications, for eg. D365 come out of the box.
A solution with a much larger ecosystem will be able to do that without increasing the overall cost of the project.
8.Partner’s track record:
Once the right solution has been selected, the next step is to select the right partner for your business who will help you grow your business while implementing the right solution within the deadline.
Partner’s expertise in the area along with the number of qualified consultants working on the technology should be known.
Client References along with the timely delivery of the projects should be a part of the discussion as well.
9. Return on Investment:
The end motive to implement an ERP/CRM Application to streamline operations and achieve long term growth for the business.
The business nowadays is leveraging an ROI of 17 times within 3 years while opting for cloud bases Business Application.
Discussions should take place on the future ROI to be expected from the system so that business would know the outcome of the amount invested.