Implementation

How to Choose the Right ERP Platform

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Imagine your company’s software vendor has just announced it’s no longer supporting a program your staff uses, one that over the years has helped you grow your business. Processes continue to get more complicated with data continuing to expand at astronomical rates leaving older systems behind. Your company is left with no choice: It’s time to pick a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for your organization.

There are two major questions that need to be answered: Which solution best suits your company right now? Is there a different solution that will help your pharmaceutical or chemical company grow from a small or medium business (SMB) to a level able to challenge the industry giants?

Choosing the Right ERP System

Before your company can evaluate products on the market, you need to understand what will work best for you. ERP News suggests that if you do nothing else, it’s important to understand the needs of your business.

Before starting the ERP selection process, it is a good idea to analyze the business processes correctly and reveal the areas that you find incomplete or that need to be improved. Source: ERP News

Figue: 1 ERP selection process

ERP selection process

There are 10 critical steps to selecting the right ERP software package:

1.Ensuring it fits your company’s business needs. It’s important to understand what the needs of your organization are now, and in the future; short, medium and long term.

2.Planning an effective budget. You want to get the most effective business ERP system for your organization. What’s the total cost of ownership? What kind of return on investment (ROI) can you expect? Which is most likely to help your company profit and grow?

3.Verifying flexibility and scalability. Just because a package is a top-rated ERP solution today doesn’t mean it can keep up as your needs grow or as market conditions change.

4.Ensuring it can adapt to new technologies. Can your solution of choice support internet of things (IoT) data? Is it compatible with cloud computing? Does it allow work from any location? Is it usable with tablets, laptops and even mobile phones?

5.Is it compatible with your existing business software? Can the new system communicate with your legacy software and devices? Will your users be able to easily access old data alongside new orders and processes?

6.What do similar-sized competitors use? Is there a standard ERP used in your industry? What do your clients, suppliers and business partners use? What do they like and what would they change if given the chance to start from scratch?

7.Research your implementation partner. How much experience do they have in your industry? How flexible is the software and how capable is your partner? Can your implementation partner customize the software to meet your specific, demanding needs?

8.Will it grow with your business? Can the enterprise resource planning application expand, not only in terms of users but into other areas you don’t need today, but might in the future?

9.Does this project have support from upper management? If not, going through all of the other steps is an exercise in futility. Effective research will make it impossible for top management to say no.

10.Does it have a familiar look and feel? Don’t underestimate the effect changing ERP systems will have on your worker. If you don’t have user support, making it work will be tough. One way to achieve that goal is by using software similar to other programs they already use.

One last question to continuously ask along the way might be “What do we have that works well right now? What do we need to function better?”

Top ERP Systems in the US

All of the software giants have ERP systems. Depending on who you read, different companies will be on top. The dominant players are well-known software companies: Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce and others. In no particular order, the most frequently mentioned top ERP systems are:

  • Epicor ERP
  • IFS
  • Infor
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Oracle JD Edwards
  • Oracle NetSuite
  • Sage X3
  • Salesforce CRM
  • SAP Business One
  • SAP ERP
  • Syspro
  • Workday Financial Management

Researching offerings from each one of these major companies will take time and manpower. At this point, you’ve moved on to the next stage: evaluation.

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Evaluating ERP Software

According to SelectHub, choosing the right ERP system includes evaluating criteria based on your company’s needs. Typically, evaluation criteria includes:

  • Customer Relationship Management / Account Management
  • Accounts Payable Reporting
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Benefits Administration
  • Capacity Requirements Planning
  • Material Requirement Planning
  • Bill/Build of Materials
  • Logistics Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Module Integration
  • Installation Type
  • Network Flexibility
  • Employee Training

Companies in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries should add:

  • U.S. Regulatory Compliance
  • International Regulatory Compliance

Not included in this list is one other critical criteria that can help determine if your company would be vulnerable to attacks: data security.

Where to Start

A great place to start your search for a flexible, versatile, secure and ultimately valuable ERP software package solution is by connecting with an experienced consulting service with a thorough understanding of highly-regulated industries. This should include upgrades and migration, which are commonly ignored.

There are many partners that can suggest a modern upgrade path including an in-depth migration assessment that is risk-free and cost-effective. Whoever you team with, you’ll want to make certain they have extensive experience in your industry with respect to project planning, risk management and strategy.

Our Recommendation: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solutions are easily expandable, extremely secure, and backed by Microsoft’s Azure platform. Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) modules include Finance, Supply Chain Management, Business Central and other related—and integrated—products. D365 can be customized and enhanced with other functionality, including products specifically designed for chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Integrated Chemical Management is a perfect example as one of Microsoft’s preferred solutions for these industries.

As a Microsoft product, Dynamics 365 has an advantage over every other competing product: a familiar look and feel. Office 365 and its many predecessors are used by millions of people worldwide. This familiarity helps your staff learn new software without having to learn an entirely new method of working.

Final Thoughts

For every business, selecting the right ERP system starts with an honest evaluation of your company and its needs. Determining where you are and where you want to go are the first steps towards ensuring your investment ultimately turns a profit and helps your organization grow.

It’s a big job, selecting the right partner along with the right software package. Thorough research and proper planning will be key to a smooth transition, but the result will be a much better implementation of a much better product. Are you ready to get started?

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

How choosing the right ERP system can boost your company's growth

How choosing the right ERP system can boost your company’s growth

How choosing the right ERP system can boost your company’s growth 1202 452 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

According to the latest Mckinsey research, agile organizations are healthier and more likely to meet long-term performance KPIs than their counterparts. Moreover, such organizations are more likely to achieve:

  • greater customer centricity,
  • faster time to market,
  • higher revenue growth,
  • lower costs, and
  • a more engaged workforce.

One way to improve the agility of your organization is to employ an ERP solution. Here we explore the advantages of utilizing an ERP system and outline five ways the right ERP system can improve agility and help you grow your business.

40%

of all companies won’t survive in the next ten years if they fail to figure out how to change and transform their business to accommodate the latest technologies.

Source: East Innovations

Benefits of Implementing an ERP Software Solution: Key Areas

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) as a business process management tool can enable organizations to manage day-to-day business activities like:

  • accounting,
  • procurement,
  • marketing,
  • human resources,
  • project management,
  • risk management,
  • compliance, and
  • supply chain operations.

The right Enterprise resource planning software application allows these different departments to communicate and share information with the rest of the company.

Figure: 1Different departments integrating through an ERP

Different departments integrating through an ERP

In other words, ERP software helps your business by making it easier for different departments to cooperate with just one interface.

Book a free assessment to learn about the right ERP system for your company.

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5 Ways a Modern ERP Can Help You Grow Your Business

Large ERP solutions often slip to the bottom of IT management’s agenda, but the growth benefits of ERP solutions—seamless, end-to-end integration across functions and business units—make them a fundamental asset for most large companies.

Moreover, the next generation of modern ERP solutions offers even more promising capabilities, both functionally and technologically. Below we explore just a few of the ways a modern ERP can help you grow your business.

Enhanced Insight and Visibility

ERP software provides complete access to important business processes by making data from different departments easily accessible to senior management. It provides a birds-eye-view of daily business operations like:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Order Processing
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Project Management
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and
  • Data Services.

The boost in visibility enables decision-makers with the information they need to not only control daily operations but also improve inefficient processes and reveal opportunities for growth.

Better Reporting and Analytics

Accurate and complete reporting helps businesses plan, budget, forecast, and communicate the state of operations to the organization and other interested parties, such as investors and shareholders.

ERPs make big data and big business a good match because they enable your team with a single, unified reporting and analytics system for every process. You also enable your team to analyze and compare functions across departments, without the hassle of multiple spreadsheets and emails.

Greater Efficiency and Performance

By linking far-flung departments, ERP systems make it easier for your team to interoperate. The easier it is for your team to interoperate, the easier it will be for them to produce high quality work, and perform at their best.

“Higher the efficiency, the higher the profitability!”

Properly implemented, an ERP software suite can greatly reduce or eliminate repetitive manual processes, which frees up your team to focus on revenue-generating tasks. ERP systems can also aid in the adoption of industry best-practice, and alignment across the organization.

Stronger Data Security

ERP software improves data security by limiting input to a single system, thus eliminating the avenues by which a hacker could infiltrate the system and/or steal information. Both on-premise and cloud-based ERP systems provide a higher degree of security than the alternative, i.e., merging information from multiple systems.

Additionally, most ERP software runs on a single database system, which enables centralized backups of your critical and sensitive data.

Improved Supply Chain Management

The feature-rich working environment of an ERP suite provides a range of important supply chain advantages and play a key role in several aspects of the creation and maintenance of a superior supply chain management process, including:

  • Supply Chain Planning – ERP systems offer an easier and more flexible way to establish and alter the supply chain parameters.
  • Purchasing, Procurement and Execution – ERP software applications provide a more effective way to manage the procurement and supply of goods, services and other resources that are needed to operate a successful supply chain.
  • Monitoring and Maintenance – The ability to monitor, review and alter supply chain efforts and activities in real-time is essential for ensuring your business can maintain the flexibility needed to stay competitive and ensure cost-effective operations.
  • Measurement and Assessment – ERP systems offer superior information aggregation and organization, which makes it easier to identify and address undesirable variances throughout the supply chain.

How to Choose the Right ERP System

There is no one-size-fits-all ERP system for every business, but there are features that distinguish it from other types of business software, including:

  • Common database – Most ERP advantages stem from a common database that enables organizations to centralize information from numerous departments, and eliminate the need to manually merge separate databases.
  • Single user interface – ERP systems provide the same user interface (UI) and have a similar user experience (UX) across all departments and roles. In other words, everyone uses the same interface and sees the same thing when they interact with the software.
  • Process Integration – The right ERP system will enable your team to unify a diverse set of processes, and connect workflows that play crucial roles in the company’s success.
  • Automation – A basic feature of most ERP systems is the ability to automate repetitive tasks like manual data entry, which saves time, improves efficacy and minimizes human error.
  • Data Analytics – the most valuable aspect of an ERP is how it breaks down information silos, enabling your team to mix and match data from any part of your business into insightful reports.

Conclusion

The prospect of streamlined business functions and major boosts to productivity make ERP systems a good investment for any business owner. But which ERP system is right for your business? The answer to that question depends on your business.

Ultimately, the ERP system you choose for your business should not only make work easier, but also enable your team with the tools, time and information they need to improve business processes and set your company on a trajectory for growth.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Removing Roadblocks when Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365

Removing Roadblocks when Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365

Removing Roadblocks when Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 1201 451 Xcelpros Team

Recap

In a previous post, we looked at the basics of the high-level steps involved in adding Microsoft Dynamics 365. In this post, we will take a look at common implementation problems and ways to avoid them or reduce their effect.

It’s time for a change. Your company decides to modernize with Microsoft System Dynamics 365 Finance to automate and modernize your financial operations.

Now you need to make it work for you.

Four Challenges

The four main challenges that can impact an ERP implementation project’s budget and timeline are:

  1. 1.Applying experience with other enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, expecting Dynamics 365 to behave the same way. It will not.
  2. 2.Users may expect certain functions built into D365 because of the previous ERP. These functions may have been customized to get where they are. Attempting to add them can keep the project from achieving its objectives and add constraints.
  3. 3.Wish lists items can also cause the implementation cost to go out of control. A Change Champion can reign in these wish lists to ensure the right amount of focus is placed to achieve the best possible result.
  4. 4.Using inaccurate information from other companies’ installations researching a different D365 module.

Being aware of these issues from the beginning will help avoid a failed ERP implementation.

Figure: 1Main Pitfalls affecting a project’s scope, budget and timeline

Main Pitfalls affecting a project's scope, budget and timeline

Common Problems and Causes

These are a few of the most common D365 implementation problems and their likely causes, each of which can frustrate executives and employees.

Problem Example Possible Cause
A tool or important feature was left out Payment terms are missing A scenario was misspelled or overlooked in the Design Phase
Legacy data upload is incomplete or corrupted Names are misspelled, dates are wrong, amounts are inaccurate, etc. Data was not input properly into the legacy system
A specific configuration is incomplete or not working properly Departments are not being notified when payments are made Lack of communication between staff and implementation team

The most likely cause for the majority of these issues is communication. For example, the implementation team did not clearly understand what was being asked, or different people requested changes to the same section.

A good way to resolve communication problems is by having the Change Champion review and approve the updates during the design phase. Customization best practices means having the Change Champion approve or deny all change orders and requests.

When data is not properly entered into the system, the business will need to search its records and recreate the missing material.

Other Common Implementation Problems

One of the most common reporting issues deals with those at the end of a month. For example, Inventory shows 10 barrels at $10 each were used. However, Finance shows 9.2 barrels were used, resulting in a dollar discrepancy.

This is the kind of issue best brought up during user access testing (UAT) when the implementation team can define cell properties. That way, inventory and finance agree.

D365’s Finance module has detailed reporting options. The ability to input data depends on a person’s security roles, privileges and duties. For example, someone who wants to “Generate financial reports” must have that role, privilege and duty assigned to them.

When a user needs to generate a report and can’t do it, they should talk to the system administrator or security administrator, Microsoft states.

Reports used data input into the system. When data is not being accurately added, reports will reflect the inaccuracies.

An excellent way to resolve these issues is by involving the training team early and often. Have them create training materials and then have users perform the tasks in the UAT environment to ensure everything works as designed.

Following Methodology

D365 implementations follow a strict methodology. Problems occur when executives or employees try to get around the system. Seeking an easier path by using a method from the legacy system usually causes problems with D365.

Dynamics 365 is set up logically – Form follows function, step follows step. Trying to go from Step 2 to Step 6 without performing the intermediate actions is a recipe for trouble.

Microsoft has its own “Sure Step Methodology” as part of its ecosystem. This methodology:

  • Is designed specifically for Microsoft implementations
  • Defines key activities and deliverables
  • Provides tools and templates

Focusing on the ‘To Be’

Change, no matter how beneficial, is always stressful. Many people are comfortable performing tasks a certain way. They are uncomfortable doing it differently.

When employees focus on the “As Is,” which is how tasks were done with the legacy system, they get bogged down and have trouble adapting to D365. Instead, they need to consider the “To Be,” which is the end goal.

For example, Inventory uses one legacy system and Finance uses something different. Some fields are identical but others are different. In D365, both departments must change how and where they input data.

By focusing on the “To Be,” the end result of implementing D365 is a leaner, more accurate and more profitable business that benefits both departments.

Here’s an example of “To Be.”

  1. 1.Intelligent financial information using data from multiple sources permits intelligent operations.
  2. 2.Intelligent operations lead to improved productivity.
  3. 3.Improved productivity leads to faster fulfillment, which leads to timely delivery.
  4. 4.All of these steps lead to increased profitability, which funds improvements in everything else.

The Value of Microsoft Dynamics

One way to implement change management is by explaining some of the values inherent in Microsoft Dynamics.

These values include:

  • Empowering employees, giving them real-time access to actionable data
  • Driving faster innovation
  • Facilitating smarter decisions with user-based workspaces
  • Delivering real-time responses to customer demands
  • Reducing transportation costs and increasing delivery accuracy
  • Scaling up or down as the business changes
  • Using mobile phones, tablets and other devices that let employees perform more tasks where they work

Summary

Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 is often looked at as complicated, or fraught with problems – but only if you let it. Taking a forward thinking approach focusing on your “To Be” goals helps the implementation move forward faster.

Companies that navigate smoote implementations often start training almost from Day One. Training employees early gets their buy-in and lets people learn how D365 can make their work lives easier.

Having a Change Champion helps keep the implementation on time and on budget.

Anticipating problems before they occur allows managers to head them off. Change will occur. Instead of resisting, workers are better off spending that energy on learning how to maximize their value.

The overall result will make your company more efficient, more agile and more profitable.

Get More Done

Improve your chemical, pharmaceutical or life science business by updating your ERP to Microsoft Dynamics today. Visit www.excelpros.com (a Microsoft Gold Partner) or call 1-855-411-0585 to learn more.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com