Maximize Value in the ERP System Development Process
Everyone loves a good value. It can be so satisfying to get two avocados for the price of one or to take your child to the museum for free with the purchase of an adult admission. But arguably even more gratifying is garnering an above-and-beyond return on an investment that already stands to optimize almost every aspect of your operations. How? By having it uniquely tailored to fit the exact needs and processes of your business.
Let’s take a look at how you can maximize the value of your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system development.
It’s Never Too Early to Think About Customization
It might feel a little strange to be thinking about how you’re going to customize an ERP system you don’t even have yet. But as you’re weighing your options, you might appreciate the system that seems to mesh well with your team’s workflow, while also feeling a strong pull toward the one with capabilities specific to your industry.
Too bad you can’t choose both. Or can you?
When you’ve found an ERP system that’s just shy of being the solution of your dreams, an experienced ERP consultant can help you determine what’s possible in terms of integrations and add-ons to fill in the gaps between the system you’re considering and the functionality you envision. The good news is, with the increase in cloud software availability stemming from the rise in remote work over the past few years, there are more possibilities than ever for integrating cloud-based systems and choosing best-of-breed software for different protocols within your company.
Don’t Despise – Customize
Sometimes it takes a few months or even longer to learn the ins and outs of your new ERP system, to get to know its quirks and perhaps some areas in which it falls short. If you find yourself longing for features that you didn’t even realize you needed when you were selecting your ERP system, all is not lost! Just as it’s never too early to customize your ERP, it’s also never too late (the primary exception being if your system is nearing end-of-life, in which case you can put those features on the wishlist for your next ERP).
How to Make the Most of the ERP System Development Process
There are many different ways, and many different reasons, to customize your ERP system. Here are a few examples:
Creating Ties that Bind
Imagine you’re a clothing retailer. After dealing with countless shortages and delays over the past few years, you’ve acquired a textile manufacturer in an effort to better control your supply chain. The textile manufacturer has long used software solutions specifically designed for their industry. But now that they are a subsidiary of your company, you need access to their data for your financial reporting.
You have a few choices in this situation:
- You can require the manufacturer to switch to your ERP system so you can more easily access their financial data, even though this will likely cause further upheaval and will leave them without the industry-specific capabilities they rely on.
- You can spend dozens of staff hours each reporting period manually copying and pasting the manufacturer’s financial data into a location and format that allows it to be added to your financial reports.
The answer, of course, is neither. Instead, with the expertise of an experienced ERP consultant, it’s possible to develop custom integrations that will tie the two systems together. The subsidiary’s data can then be seamlessly imported into the parent company’s financial reporting software.
Evolving to Meet Changing Business Needs
The ERP system development process isn’t one-and-done. Your business is constantly evolving, and customizations help your ERP system evolve with it.
Maybe your company started out as an interior design firm, sourcing furniture and fabrics from other companies, but you recently started your own line of home decor items. You now need an inventory management system. Maybe you’re an appliance company and you want to ensure no gas stoves are sold in states where they have been or are on the verge of being banned. An ERP developer can help you customize your system to restrict certain types of sales in certain geographical areas. However your business or the circumstances under which it exists change; the ERP system development process can help extend the useful life of your solution.
In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, it’s revealed that one of the main characters never cashes his paychecks. His reason: the things he wants to buy haven’t been invented yet. Your enterprise might have a similar situation. Chances are, some of the applications that will revolutionize your business are still in the back of a computer programming student’s mind, not to come to fruition for another four or five years. When those applications do come to market, your ERP consultant can help you incorporate them into your system.
Other Benefits of Bespoke
Some of the cases in favor of ERP customizations are predicated on major changes in internal or external circumstances. But customizations and add-ons are appropriate even with minor shifts in your business’ terrain. Below are some reasons why it’s beneficial to work with an ERP consultant to continually customize your system throughout its useful life:
- Scalability: Add entities or users when the need arises.
- Cost efficiency: Pay only for the modules and features you need without wasting money on ones you don’t.
- Time efficiency: An experienced ERP consultant knows how to get results quickly and without an excessive amount of system downtime.
- Ongoing support: Working with a consultant during the ERP system development process means you’ll have access to their expertise throughout the life of your system.
Helpful Hints for a Smooth ERP System Development Process
There are a few steps your enterprise can take to get the most out of the ERP system development process:
- Prioritize what’s most important to your enterprise in terms of ERP development and design. Create a road map for the types of tasks you want your ERP to help you accomplish, both now and in the future, so your consulting team knows what they’re working toward.
- Map out your company’s goals as well as the direction your business seems to be heading in the next 5-10 years. This can be helpful not only for planning your long-term ERP software development process but also for budgeting for future modules and features.
- Consider inviting your ERP consultant to your next strategic planning meeting. They may have insights on how they can help execute your vision by way of the ERP system development process.
Crestwood Associates employs a team of ERP experts that are not only customer-oriented but business savvy. The team members who sit down with you to map out what you want from your ERP system are the same ones who will be putting together the design documents and doing the development work – no meeting with a business analyst who relays your wishes to developers, who are then designing your system based on secondhand information. None of your wishes get lost in the shuffle because there is no shuffle.
We stand behind the products we help implement by providing reliable, ongoing software support and real-time status updates. Depending on the types of customizations or modifications, your ERP system development process can continue throughout the solution’s life with little to no disruption to the operation of your business.See for yourself how Crestwood Associates can support your enterprise through the ERP system development process. Request a consultation today.