In my third and final article on ERP Basics, I’m going to take a look at best practices when deploying your chosen solution. In my first article, I covered the basics of an integrated business management solution. Next, I analysed the ways in which an ERP solution can help SMEs reduce overall costs. Now, let’s look at how SMEs go about implementing their chosen solution and the associated costs and services included.

Do you need ERP?

Every business has its challenges. But you’re never going to be able to overcome these without using the right technology. ERP has proven time and time again to help organisations overcome common issues around data duplication, data management, reporting, stock management and much more. The best run businesses run ERP.

Why is ERP so expensive?

ERP doesn’t automatically equal expense. The size of your company and the number of users ultimately defines the cost of your project, as each user requires a license to access the solution. You’ll also have to factor in consultancy days for blueprinting, configuration and training. This can often match or exceed the cost of your licenses but are essential in ensuring the project is a long-term success. If you select a solution with a detailed roadmap, like SAP Business One, it’s likely to be the only solution your business will ever need. When you break down the cost of a project over a five, 10 or even 20-year period, it starts to look a lot more affordable.

How is ERP implemented?

Because of the range of functionality these systems offer, it’s not a turn-key solution where you can simply install a piece of software and be up and running within a day. Experienced vendors will have no problem implementing your solution on time and within budget. Implementation often takes place on-site but it’s also possible to implement remotely to reduce costs.

How long does an ERP implementation take?

Every project is different and that means varying lengths of time. The average SAP Business One project can take anywhere between four to six months, but it’s completely dependent on the scope. One of the most important things you can do is select the right implementation partner. When an ERP project fails, it’s often because the implementation partner didn’t have the necessary experience or resources to meet their customer’s requirements. Selecting the right partner is often the difference between a project’s success and failure.

How will ERP help my business?

Where do you start? The benefits for adopting an ERP are widely accepted. Not only are these types of solutions drivers for growth in SMEs, they have also been proven to increase productivity and reduce inefficiency. Through the implementation of a single, centralised solution, there’s no need for different departments to use disparate solutions. Organisations simply manage all tasks and store data in one end-to-end solution.

What’s the difference between ERP and SAP?

Although SAP is synonymous with ERP, they are in fact completely different. SAP was an organisation formed in the early 1970s – decades before the term ERP was coined – when five frustrated engineers developed an enterprise-wide system. Some 60 years on, the company is still developing ERP solutions to help organisation manage their processes and now it’s one of the world’s leading software developers for SMEs. ERP is an acronym for Enterprise Resource Planning and is a term associated with end-to-end business management systems. ERP is the product and SAP is the organisation that specialises in these systems.

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