Tips & tricks for finding an optimal ERP or CRM system

3 reasons why an ERP/CRM system should be replaced

The reasons why small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) exchange business software are diverse. Roughly speaking, three causes or drivers can be identified:

  1. The current software is outdated
    This case is much more common than you might think at first. The software is either generally outdated or it is no longer supported or maintained by the software provider.
  2. The requirements of the company have changed
    This driver is present when a company has developed in such a way that business software (ERP or CRM) support is required elsewhere. Typical examples are expansion into new countries, company growth in general, serving new markets or a change in the business model such as focusing on services or trade instead of production.$
  3. The acceptance of the solution by the users is no longer given
    The cause of this driver is the current shortage of skilled workers. This is taken as an opportunity to replace an established but outdated solution. In addition to functionality, the main focus is then on usability and an appealing user interface. Companies are therefore opting for a new solution in order to be more attractive to employees.

Mixed forms
Of course, there are also mixed forms of the causes, with different weightings depending on the company. They combination of old software and new requirements is the primary driver, acceptance the quick win. For example, I often encounter companies whose systems are so "bent" that maintenance is simply no longer possible or economically viable. This condition often results from changes in the company's requirements. The required functions are then not covered by the software standard. This also indicates that the current software was already not an optimal fit for the company's requirements in the past.

In addition, these solutions are often neither intuitive to use nor ergonomically designed - an additional aspect that is becoming increasingly important in today's tender processes.

Clear vision of the future solution landscape

It is fact that the number of potential solutions and providers has grown considerably in recent years. The market has literally exploded and thus become significantly more diverse, but also more confusing. In addition to the classic all-in-one solutions that offer the complete portfolio of possible functions, there are increasingly specialized best-of-breed solutions. These optimally cover specific business areas and their requirements, while others are completely left out or only dealt with in a rudimentary way.

Especially in view of these developments, it is crucial to know where your company wants to go from an IT perspective. Do you need a central all-in-one system that covers everything from A to Z? Or do you rather want a stable basic system for the central corporate functions such as purchasing, finance and controlling in combination with specialized software solutions for specific business areas such as a production control system, web shops or mobile service technicians?

10 aspects of a software evaluation that are critical to success

A software evaluation for companies with 100 employees certainly looks different than one for companies with 5000 employees. Nevertheless, I would like to provide you with 10 essential steps that you should consider in any case. Depending on the company and the task, these must be developed differently:

  • Create a clear understanding of the digitization strategy
  • Define clear project goals
  • Involve all stakeholders
  • Focus on company specifics and competitive advantages
  • Ensure the right level of detail of process and functional requirements
  • Identify potential suppliers and ensure comparability of offers
  • Plan a dedicated phase to answer vendor questions
  • Obtain vendor project references
  • Clearly define the scope of the implementation with the vendor
  • Negotiate a solid contractual basis for the implementation project

In my next article, I will go deeper into the success-critical aspects in detail. If you don't want to wait until the next article is published, you are facing a similar challenge and need more tips and tricks or simply want to have a personal conversation, feel free to contact me directly. I look forward to hearing from you, your feedback or suggestions, and any form of exchange.

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Robin Seidelmann
Robin Seidelmann

Robin Seidelmann has been managing international MES and ERP projects since 2000. As a business informatics specialist with a focus on business processes in industrial companies, he is the first point of contact at 2BCS for ERP evaluations, ERP implementations, business process management and digitalization strategies. His focus is on large-scale manufacturing companies in discrete manufacturing as well as process industries. With over 9 years of industry experience and a multitude of consulting mandates, he is an expert in the topics of MES, IoT and Industry 4.0.

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