Mumbai, India (PressExposure) December 16, 2009 -- IF you think that all ERP packages are the same then think again, because they are not. Of the many ERP packages available in the market today, the features they offer vary, as do the technologies they support, the technologies they use, the architecture on which they are built and the available platforms.
Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, some are better at human resources, whereas others have excellent production and production planning capabilities.
Over the years ERP systems have gained popularity and their usefulness has increased to a point where organizations without an ERP system are almost non-existent. ERP systems are now available in all sizes and shapes for all platforms and development environments. Selecting the right ERP system for your organization is critical part of the process. This decision can make or break an organization.
ERP packages have different architectures, concepts and sets of functionality and they are designed to address a variety of user requirement. The marketing literature from ERP vendors will no doubt give the impression that their tool is just as good as any other. Such literature is valuable for giving the reader an overview of functionality and a glimpse at the differentiator for that vendor's offering. But, if you compare the literature or listen to a vendor's presentation, it would be very difficult to evaluate which package is the best or which would be most suitable for your organization.
So if you go by what is written in the product brochure or what the salespeople say, you will find it very difficult to make a decision and might end up with the wrong choice. So package selection is something that should be done on a systematic and scientific manner.
The most important factor to keep in mind when analyzing the different packages is, none of them are perfect. The idea that there is no perfect package needs to be understood by everyone in the decision-making team. The objective of the selection process is not to identify a package that covers each and every requirement. The objective is to find a package that is flexible enough to meet the company's needs.
While studying the history of ERP packages and finds out how each package evolved, it becomes evident that every ERP package grew out of the experience or opportunity of a group of people working in a specific business who created systems that could deal with certain business segments. It is generally accepted that most ERP packages are stronger in certain areas than in others and each one is trying hard to add functionality in areas where they have been lacking.
The experience gained from implementation, the feedback by the users, the need to enter into new markets and the pressure from competitors forced most ERP vendors to re-define and expand the scope of the activities and functionality of their products. The concepts were expanded upon, new functions were introduced, and good ideas were copied from others and so on. But still each package has a history that determines the type of business it is best suited for.
Originally, ERP packages were targeted at the manufacturing industry and consisted mainly of functions for generally planning and managing the core businesses such as sales management, production management, accounting and financial affairs, etc. However, in recent years, adaptation not only to the manufacturing industry, but also to diverse types of industry has become possible and the expansion of implementation and use has been progressing on a global level.
So while making the analysis it is a good idea to investigate the origins of the different packages. Now, almost all packages cater to most business and service sectors. It would be wrong to say that a system that was developed initially for manufacturing is now not capable of catering to the needs of another business sector. The system must have been thoroughly revamped and re-designed to meet the needs of the diverse business sectors that it is catering to. But it should be remembered that many ERP packages are still very good in some areas, even though they are capable of catering to the needs of other sectors.
So after the decision to go for an ERP package is taken, the company needs to develop the selection criteria that will permit evaluation of all the available packages on the same scale. To choose the best system, the company should identify the system that meets the business needs, matches the business profile and identifies with the business practices of the company. It is impossible to get a system that will perform, exactly as the company does business, but the aim should be to get the system that has the least number of differences.
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