The selection for an improved business management solution – whether it is ERP or CRM, (or indeed any complementary business technology), must be a considered process with many criteria to contemplate. We have covered areas to consider in CRM selection in a previous article, an ERP selection blog, as well as looking at ERP selection for manufacturing firms, in this blog we will specifically look at the importance of long term considerations in software selection.
Traditionally, organisations might replace or upgrade their ERP system every five to ten years, reviewing their infrastructure requirements in tandem with their software requirements. One of the reasons for this long investment cycle was that the majority of the time, ERP projects tended to be an OPEX cost with an on-premise deployment; so depreciation of a firm’s assets would be in line with expectations.
Another reason was that they were constrained by their original selection with a small, proprietary system that was heavily modified and therefore difficult to move on, to take advantage of fast moving technology advancements (think mobile, apps, touch-screen, BI, predictive analytics etc.).
Cloud as a transformational mechanism for business management
Commercial ambitions change over time, and in today’s digital transformation context, firms are increasingly looking at reducing risk, ensuring their technology remains relevant for longer, and being able to scale up and down with ease.
Both for enterprise and SMB companies, the cloud has enabled them to take advantage of predictable and scaleable subscription payment models; realising ROI quicker and giving a wider, mobile audience access to the same system.
This model also mitigates the traditional upgrade model, with software updates and releases being introduced in “waves” throughout the year, ensuring users embrace smaller changes more often and assimilate best practice and relevant technology easier.
User considerations across all sectors
When considering software selection – looking at the bigger picture – regardless of sector – is a must. What technologies does the wider business use, e.g. for office, email, document management, collaboration, telephone, etc. At what touch points will your new software need to intersect with these other technologies? Facilitating the ease of user experience and adoption is a key part of implementing software. Using familiar technologies such as Microsoft Dynamics that integrate within Office 365 puts your ERP/CRM at the heart of your business and becomes an intuitive part of daily life for users.
Sector specific proprietary vs cfMD model of software selection
Traditionally, organisations might only look at standalone proprietary software that they would be familiar with, either through word of mouth within their sector, initial cost, starting functional requirements and strategic fit. Taking a “sector only” view in software selection would narrow choice and ability to take advantage of advancements and best practice.
Heavily modified standalone software is no longer the only choice available to firms who believe – because of their particular sector requirements – that this meets their needs.
Software vendors such as Microsoft have partnerships with ISVs (independent software vendors) and VARs (value added resellers) who develop core software solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics further to meet the needs of specific verticals or roles. When selecting a sector or complementary solution from an ISV or VAR, you are advised to check that it carries the right certifications. For example, The Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD) programme identifies third-party solutions that have met Microsoft‘s highest standards for Dynamics implementations.
What is cfMD?
It sets a small group of proven, tested, and recommended business solutions apart from thousands of other solutions that have not met Microsoft’s highest standard for partner-developed solutions. Certified for Microsoft Dynamics solutions can give the proof needed before buying a business management software, because they are:
- Used and recommended by other companies
- Designed to meet unique business and industry needs
- Tested for integration with the Microsoft Dynamics products
- Built, supported and maintained by a company that is committed to quality and lasting success
In the context of incremental releases via the cloud, cfMD products carry the assurance of being updated along with core Microsoft Dynamics waves.
So firms looking for a software solution that meets their needs, are no longer confined to small, proprietary solutions that “lock them in” to technology that is harder to update and allowing businesses to remain relevant.
A Microsoft Gold Partner, Prodware’s solutions carry the cfMD certification – giving businesses within the distribution, manufacturing, services and holiday park sectors the reassurance they need of world-class business technology, now and into the future. Please contact us to find out more.