Buying ERP

The terminology for buying ERP can easily lead to a misunderstanding when searching for a new accounting/ERP system. Many clients believe that after they’ve made their initial purchase, their software will anticipate their needs and handle it automatically. Unfortunately, this is almost never the case.

Think of purchasing a car. Although you’ve spent $30k to purchase your car, you will still need to purchase oil changes, car washes, tires, and other accessories. Another common cause for additional cost is an unanticipated need. You didn’t expect to need an air-conditioner so you put some extra money into more horsepower. Then you realize after you drive off the lot that you do need an air-conditioner. Maybe this car also has a manual gearbox and you’ve driven automatics your whole life. Now you may need to pay someone to train you on driving with a manual transmission.

Also consider that as a growing business, you may have been driving a sedan. This has been sufficient and the sedan had some really nice built in features that you’ve come to expect from any vehicle. However, your business has grown and even a station wagon isn’t going to cut it any longer. So you upgrade to a semi-truck. You’ve entered a new category where you’ll need substantial training, and you will need to be very specific if you want to get all of the same features that you had in your sedan.

Compare this metaphor to your business and include all of the unique aspects of your business. Chances are that although your business shares some common attributes with others in your industry, there are processes that make you unique in order to better service your customers and stand out in your field. Your solution needs to be as unique as your business is.

Unfortunately, purchasing a car is much more common than implementing ERP and the requirements are more differentiated. Remember that spending ‘X’ amount of dollars does not entitle you to a maintenance-free, “automatic” solution. Plan to invest plenty of time in owning the solution. This time will need to come from any stakeholder in the implementation of your ERP system. The more involved your are, the lower your maintenance and training costs will be.

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