Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a constantly evolving field. Every year we hear about new features, support models, and deployment options. But when it comes time to get a new ERP system, what is the best ERP platform?
ERP investments have a long life, typically 15 to 20 years. In order to determine which ERP system is best, we must explore each and every phase of the ERP lifecycle. We have to consider what drives people to actually acquire the ERP system, what leads to success during the deployment, and then we have to consider what IT leaders need to do to administer and maintain the system.
Obviously, an appropriate system has to be able to meet the base requirements of the enterprise. A manufacturing company, for example, must have the appropriate manufacturing modules. The best products, however, have features that address the problems that we see at each stage of the ERP project.
What are the differentiating features?
Data Integration: The ability to incorporate data from across the business.
Workflow: The ability to create and manage business processes.
Financial Consolidation: Functionality to incorporate data from different operating units and from different countries. These capabilities are key to both supporting executive projects and to supporting enterprise growth.
Budgeting: This presents a challenge for many ERP platforms. Budgeting processes require business leaders to review actual data and to make commitments on future spend and performance. Since this data isn’t just a record of an actual transaction, it can really stress rigid data models.
Data Management: Finally, a system should encourage clean data. Dirty data frustrates reporting, business growth, end users, and executives!