ERP Software System Evaluations

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems provide a central enterprise-wide company information management system, integrating line of business software systems across departments, divisions and geographic locations into a central and unified company-wide information system. ERP software systems typically bring together five major types of business applications, including accounting and finance software, manufacturing software, supply chain management software (aka distribution software), HR & payroll software, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, in order to aggregate company wide data, automate end to end business processes, decrease business process cycle times and enable powerful reporting and business intelligence.

Like many types of mission critical business applications, performing an ERP software evaluation as part of a business software selection project can be intimidating. We have therefore retired our own evaluations (as they are getting a bit dated) and instead refer visitors to ERPsearch.com - a website and community that does an impressive job with ERP software evaluations.

ERP Systems

We're now in the midst of our own ERP software implementation. In an upcoming article, we're going to take a look at our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software system, which happens to be a cloud/SaaS ERP system, named SAP Business ByDesign. There's a interesting and independent review that discloses SAP Business ByDesign Strengths and Weaknesses at ERPsearch.com.

Not Just Financial or Accounting Software

It's important to recognize that today's ERP systems, even for SMB companies, are not your grandfathers accounting software systems. Typical ERP systems integrate manufacturing, supply chain, HR and CRM with accounting software to automate enterprise-wide business processes.

We speak from experience as we recently completed our own ERP software evaluation.

Our prior system was a mid-tier application called Microsoft Great Plains. It was often referred to as an ERP system, however, in our situation, it was largely limited to finance and accounting software - that is general ledger, accounts receivable, order entry, accounts payable, purchase order, fixed assets, job costing and some inventory management. We ultimately evaluated and chose SAP Business ByDesign for two reasons. First, to get into the cloud. and take advantage of SaaS cost and business agility benefits. Second, we wanted an enterprise-wide ERP system which included fully integrated supply chain management, human resources, payroll and customer relationship management. Like many companies, we began on Quickbooks. It worked well while we were small, but we simply outgrew it and needed to graduate to a higher-end ERP system.