If you a UK-based business and looking for a new ERP solution, you are reading the right article. In this short post, we look at how to select ERP software for your business and with a specific focus on the UK marketplace.
What is ERP Software?
ERP - or Enterprise Resource Planning to give it its formal name, is a piece of software that sits across multiple aspects of the operations of a business. For example, it may be deployed extensively across the finance team, warehousing, transportation, HR, and many other business areas.
Determining which ERP solution is a good fit.
ERP vendors have been working in the UK market for decades. As such, there are many options available, the choice of which might come down to two specific areas:
Size of Company
The size of the company looking to install ERP software is a major variable. Some ERP systems are more appropriate for the SMB market, some are more appropriate for the large enterprise space - and then some are in the middle ground. Selecting the right software for the size of your business is very important, you do not want to get this wrong.
Why does size matter in this case? Well amongst other things, it comes down to cost and complexity. Some applications are very broad and very deep - which means that they tend to cost more (in terms of application licenses) and are much more complicated to install (which also leads to more cost for professional services). Companies that need that depth and breadth need that type of expensive system. For companies that are not as large or complicated, they will be much better going for a smaller package.
Type of Industry
The other variable that dictates which ERP provider is best, is the industry in which you operate. Some ERP software providers only work in specific industries, whilst others work in any (almost any) industry. Furthermore, some of the ERP systems are specifically built to the requirements of a particular sub-sector (e.g. petrochemicals) and sell to this sector only but with very rich capabilities designed for (in this case) the petrochemicals process and market.
Which ERP software is available in the UK market?
There are a multitude of different ERP vendors working in the UK market - with applications that are sold into the UK and with sales teams and support operations that support the UK customer base. Here are a few ERP vendors that work across the United Kingdom and would be interesting to look at:
There are of course more ERP vendors than this and any market assessment might involve several names not on the list. As per the points above, the longlist of options would be dependent on the size of the requirement (company size and depth of need) and the industry, only after considering these two factors might a longlist of options be created.
How to start the ERP market assessment phase
The most important step is to start researching the options and making contact with the vendor community. It's worth starting by process by doing your homework. Speak to your peers, speak to team members who have worked with other ERP systems during their career, read analyst reports, etc. Getting a good grounding can never be a bad thing.
The next step is to draw up the 'longlist' of options. As a 'Technology Matchmaker', when Viewpoint Analysis runs these processes for our customers, we tend to find a good way of proceeding is to issue what we call a 'challenge statement'. You can learn more about this by looking at our Matchmaker Service, but in basic terms, we get down our challenge on paper, and issue this to the different vendors in the market. If they believe they can help, we schedule calls (remote to begin with) for them to present how they might do what we need them to do.
Once we have a Longlist - in other words, a list of vendors that can help us, our aim is to get quickly to a shortlist. Once we have a shortlist we can spend much more time with those vendors (which is important when buying an ERP system) to make sure we are buying the right product.
How to find an ERP shortlist
It's pretty simple to come down to a shortlist from a longlist. Most businesses will use an RFI - or Request for Information. We don't use those - we tweak the process and issue a Rapid RFI. An RFI is a little deeper than the Matchmaker Service or issuing a challenge statement - and it gets the shortlist hammered out quickly. We aim to go from the list of potentials to maybe 4 or 5 vendors at a maximum. That small handful is all that is needed for a shortlist process.
If you know that you need a new ERP system and you are based in the UK, you are in a good position. There are plenty of ERP vendors that can service your needs - but just be careful to select one that does what you need it to do. Make sure it is for your industry, and make sure it is for your size of business and your future aspirations.
If we can help in your ERP vendor selection, just let us know. You can find out more about our services in our Vendor Selection Services brochure.