Once upon a time, ERP solutions were used strictly as back-office IT systems for large companies who focused on supporting the centralization and integration of work for certain business functions.
That is, until recently.
ERP systems are swiftly becoming the operational core of organizations worldwide- small, midsize, and large- unlike before, where a significant number of processes, people and small and midsize businesses only worked outside of them.
The immense growth of the ERP sector validates this evolution, where Allied Global Research recently reported that the global ERP market reached $39 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $86 billion by 2027.
As ERP cloud, automation and analytical capabilities continue to expand, smaller businesses who are looking to upgrade their outdated company systems and data entry are focusing on ERP investments to generate game-changing business intelligence, efficiencies and opportunities.
Back in October of last year, we talked about the top 5 ERP Trends to watch for in 2022, and today were following up with this subject with strategic ways that small to midsize businesses can save on ERP.
How To Mitigate ERP Costs
As cloud-based solutions make ERP more accessible and practical for all businesses, small to midsize businesses have an exclusive opportunity to streamline their operations. While inflation is affecting business expenses of all kinds, finding a way to reduce ERP spending may sound nearly impossible, but we’re here to tell you that it’s not.
Here are three ways SMBs can spend and save wisely to gain and maintain a top-notch ERP system:
Lighten up your specifications
Establishing strong requirements and specifications by internal end-user groups can lead to enviable adoption and satisfaction rates when it comes to software selection and customization. That said, it is possible to go too far in this process, and it’s important for SMBs to balance user needs with efficiency advantages.
For example, only part of the workforce will be leveraging the ERP system.
To save costs, time and wasted efforts, SMBs should follow these guidelines when completing requirements specifications:
- Allow only must-haves to make it into specs by only focusing on the population that will use the tool every day, as opposed to including everyone across the company.
- Rather than allowing entire user groups to weigh in on specs, elect a few key decision-makers to manage the process at the top and communicate with groups.
- Begin setting expectations that some processes will change as a part of the upgrade and focus on the benefits of a better, more integrated system.
- Focus on user experience when selecting an ERP solution. If the user experience is a solid upgrade for users, they will be more likely to embrace the new system and accept new processes even if it doesn’t check every one of their boxes.
Avoid overpaying for ERP support
While brand-name solution providers typically emphasize product innovation rather than support, some companies with fewer cost pressures might still opt to have the same critical supplier for both the application and its maintenance to get more direct access to platform development teams and updates.
A more frugal – and usually more effective- option is to tap into third-party ERP support and maintenance services providers.
A dedicated ERP support and maintenance provider is not only less expensive but can also offer a strong bench of skilled and experienced professionals who are consistently addressing support needs and challenges across the platform. That steady focus on optimizing and troubleshooting the ERP arms these providers with experience to accelerate the identification and resolution of ERP issues. That’s both time and money saved.
Train the Next Generation
ERP implementation and upgrades require substantial user training, but there are ways to reduce the cost of learning while maintaining productivity. Before the Covid-19 pandemic enforced country wide business lockdowns, a great deal of ERP training was completed in person.
When in-person work came to a halt, businesses were forced to adapt to remote learning and the results were not all bad. In fact, we find that some of these pandemic driven training approaches suit ERP better than pre-pandemic ones. For example:
- Shorter is better. The modern mind is often most receptive to brief, engaging lessons. This is true whether learning is in person or remote. Rather than long Zoom training sessions or half- or full-day, in-person learning, breaking down ERP training into short bursts can save time and accelerate knowledge gain.
- Video lessons are effective. Ready for viewing by learners at their convenience and requiring no occupancy limits, video trainings (again, when short and smart) are excellent, low-cost tools for underscoring ERP processes and protocols. They also offer an easy way to provide ongoing training in a quick format that serves the most people, which is key to keeping ERP engagement high among existing and incoming talent.
- Let the learners work at their pace. Self-driven training tools, as opposed to set scheduled trainings, may receive better response and engagement rates.
While on-premises ERP solutions are still an option, cloud options offer a more affordable, simplified path to ERP transformation. The many benefits of cloud delivery coupled with thoughtful strategies for reducing customization, support and training costs put ERP solutions within budget and reach of most SMBs today.
We are continuing to see ERP capabilities evolve at accelerated speeds, and each year brings many more exciting cutting-edge technologies to businesses of all sizes.
When implemented correctly, ERP software becomes the transformational backbone of your company- managing people, processes, accounting, inventory, supply chain, and more. Furthermore, with increased visibility into each area of your business, you can better recognize opportunities for improved productivity, cost-reduction and accountability.
Whether your organization is recovering from a failed ERP implementation, currently engaged in one, or you already have a software solution in place, our team here at MCDA CCG can provide solutions to support you in any phase. Our experts can guide you through the logistics of implementation, provide your team with the customized consulting and training necessary to take full advantage of your software, and optimization services to make the most of your existing application.
Contact us today for a consultation with one of our experts by calling our office headquarters in Placentia, Orange County, California, today! Not one to jump at the phone? Reach out at our contact page here! Get in touch
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