Top 5 ERP Systems For Your Business In 2021

The business world is changing. With globalization and increasing competition, companies are finding they need to update their technology to keep up with the times. One of the ways that they can do this is by purchasing enterprise resource planning software (ERP). ERPs offer a variety of features that help you manage your company’s operations – from billing to inventory management, customer service to accounting.

In this article, we will look at what you need to consider before implementing ERP software and give you a rundown of our top 5 picks for the best ERP software available on the market.

What are the main ERP selection challenges?

Today’s businesses face so many challenges when it comes to choosing the best ERP system to take them to the next level. If your business is now facing these challenges, it is important to address them systematically before you make a decision and invest your money. ERP technology has the potential to streamline your business’s operations and make every process more efficient, but if you haven’t taken the right preparatory steps, you will end up with expensive software that doesn’t do anything for you.

Here are the challenges you need to overcome before investing in ERP:

Making sure everyone is on board

Just because you recognise your business’s need for ERP, that doesn’t mean everyone else in your organisation will feel the same. It is very common for stakeholders to need extra convincing, especially when it comes to investing more money in a seemingly successful business. Stakeholder uncertainty can trickle down an organisation, particularly with regards to changes like ERP implementation, when employees may fear their jobs are on the line.

Estimating the real costs of ERP

Ensuring that potential ERP solutions are cost-effective is of course an enormous priority for every business, but this is often easier said than done. Many businesses only look at the obvious costs like the price of software and maintenance, but it is the hidden costs that can drain your budget.

These include everything from the cost of configuring your ERP software to the number of internal resources you will need to allocate for implementation. Making an accurate estimate can be difficult, but you must know exactly how much different ERP systems will cost you before you make a decision.

Documenting your business’s processes

You can’t integrate your processes if you don’t know what they are, and yet so many businesses leap into ERP implementation without ever documenting their processes. Some assume that it can all be done on the fly during software configuration, while others simply don’t want to allocate resources.

Finding the right software for your business’s advanced needs

Most ERP software solutions will offer the same core features. The trick to optimising your business’s processes is to identify the ERP vendor which can provide the best solutions for your business’s unique, advanced needs. This can be difficult, because different individuals in your organisation may have conflicting ideas about what those advanced needs are.

How to prepare for ERP selection

Once you have identified these selection challenges, you can then start taking steps to resolve the issues.

Here are the most important steps to take before choosing an ERP vendor:

Get all your stakeholders on the same page

Another important part of reassuring your employees is to ensure that your stakeholders are all on the same page. Present a business case to your stakeholders, explain where process improvement and integration is needed, and demonstrate how ERP software can help drive the business forward.

Once your stakeholders are on board, they can be a reassuring voice and help to bring your employees along with you. Choose some executive-level managers who are well trusted within your organisation, and build your ERP project team around them.

Put the rest of the project team together

Once you have your executive voices in place, you can start to build the rest of your team. To implement ERP effectively across your organisation, it is vital to include members of every department. They will be able to discuss the various processes that make up their day-to-day operations to map out the end-to-end workflow of your business.

You will need to assign a project manager who has a strong understanding of each department and your organisation as a whole. Depending on the size of your business, you may also want to consider appointing a change manager, who along with your executives, will be able to reassure your employees and keep them updated on progress.

Speak to employees about what they need

Planning is key to successful ERP implementation, so organise workshops with the various departments in your business and discuss every process. This will allow you to identify which processes can be improved, which can be combined, and even some which can be scrapped altogether.

Discuss which processes cause your employees the most frustrations, and where they think the biggest improvements could be made. This is also a good time to explain to different departments about end-to-end workflow, and how their performance can help or hinder those down the line, which will be important when all your business processes have been integrated.

Top 5 ERP Systems

1. SAP

SAP is a global company that offers ERP solutions, software products and services. Over 425,000 customers in more than 180 countries use their applications to manage finances, human resources, and operations. SAP has been an industry leader since the early 1990s, providing business planning tools such as manufacturing optimisation and enterprise social networking, which can help your employees work together on different tasks without stepping on each other’s toes. SAP offers both cloud-based and traditional systems, and best of all they’re a very affordable ERP option.

2. Oracle

Oracle is an ERP vendor that has been in the industry for over three decades. It offers a wide range of services related to business and software development, including cloud-based solutions, customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and analytics applications. Oracle’s core ERP product includes all the features required for managing day-to-day operations at both small and large companies: accounting & financial modules, manufacturing modules, sales force automation systems, procurement modules, human resources modules, and payroll processing.

3. Microsoft

Microsoft is another pioneer of the big data era. Their Biztalk platform will allow you to automate your business’s processes across different departments while providing a single view into all corporate operations. Their flagship ERP product is Microsoft’s D365, which is a cloud-based ERP system that offers many of the same features as SAP and Oracle. It can be used to support sales, finances, human resources, CRM, project management and much more. One feature that sets it apart from its competitors is how easy it is to integrate with other Microsoft apps such as Office 365 and Azure.

4. Infor

Infor Cloudsuites is an enterprise resource planning suite that can integrate all your company’s needs into one system. It has a wide variety of features, including; financial management and performance management modules, which are designed to meet the specific requirements of each industry sector; manufacturing execution systems modules to help with supply chain automation at every stage from design through delivery, and customer relationship management modules to optimise sales processes across channels and geographies. Alongside Infor’s customer-centric approach, its cloud solution could enable your company to reduce operational costs by up to 50%.

5. IFS

IFS is a software solution for ERP, CRM and SCM. IFS offers end-to-end business solutions in one integrated suite of applications spanning the entire company – from finance through to manufacturing and distribution. These are all supported by industry-specific modules that cover the full range of industries including retail, steel production, construction, and shipping/logistics. This means your organization will need to spend less time seeking out different parts of separate packages or trying to customize off-the-shelf software yourselves.

Need help choosing the right ERP system?

If you need a CIO or CTO to lead a specific project for your business, such as ERP implementation, then we can help. Bailey & Associates is a team of 60+ independent C-level IT leaders who join your executive team on a part-time or “on-demand” basis. Each of our Associates have a minimum of ten years’ C-level IT experience and a proven track record of success at high growth enterprises. Please get in touch to find out more.