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September 19, 2011

If Your ERP System Can't Answer These Six Questions, You Need a New One

Never let it be said TMC (News - Alert) doesn’t scour the world to bring you fresh perspectives on business technology. From Modern Ghana we have an interview with Immo Bohm of Sage ERP X3 partner Afresh Consult, on being sure that your ERP system “hasn't gone from being an enabler to an inhibitor to continued success.”

Bohm boils it down to six core questions you’ll want to ask yourself:

“Do you do functionality, not complexity?” So many people think that complexity equals increased functionality, which equals an improved user experience. You probably use about the same percentage of Microsoft (News - Alert) Word features that you do of your brain capacity, no? “Do you deliver deep and broad first-class functionality, while remaining simple to implement and to use?” Bohm asks.

“Are you integrated or interfaced?” Here’s a takeaway gem: “A sure sign that you're getting old is when you've become a system with all kinds of extras bolted on. Sorry, but software integration no longer means applications that work together.” Not that this would describe your system, of course, but patchwork systems are as creaky and leaky as any jerry-built contraption. In fact, your ERP systems might be hiding its functional gaps by “modular design,” instead of offering integrated functionality for such necessary functionality as accounting and financial management, purchasing, inventory, sales, customer relationship management and manufacturing.

“Do you scale, or do you need add-ons?” The point here is that your ERP system needs to be able to grow with your business. Lots of legacy systems say they can “grow,” but what they mean is there’s another module you can buy, instead of having an integrated design which provides all the functions your company needs now and into the future with no additional license charges. Yes, such systems exist. Honest.

“Are you Web-native…or just Web-enabled?” Let us rephrase this: Is your ERP accessible the same way in both client/server and Web modes? Can it operate locally or through the Web in the exact same fashion?

“Are you multi-country by design?” Or do you just enjoy limiting your business to one country? If so, you probably don’t need to be reading this.

“What's your cost of ownership these days?” Can I get advanced features as a standard? And how much is maintenance?

Well, how did your ERP system do? Time for an upgrade?


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Tammy Wolf
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