Types of ERP: How to find your perfect match
Nothing really compares to a powerful ERP solution. Every business, from a mom-and-pop store to a multinational company, can find value in it. ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, is a software solution that functions as a community space where data can be shared across all different sectors of your company. This includes your warehousing, sales, accounting, the customer service team, and more. Your whole staff can work under one system, and still have the power of a specialized solution.
We truly believe that every company can benefit from an ERP system. However, that doesn’t mean that every solution is the same, or will be equally appropriate for your needs. There’s plenty of room to find your perfect ERP match. Your ideal solution may vary based on your size, industry, and general preferences for accessibility. We’ll outline a few types of ERP just to get your gears turning.
Format of ERP
When you’re choosing an ERP system, you’ll want to determine whether your software will mostly be used in-house, or if it needs to be used remotely, or consistently operate from several different locations. This factor influences accessibility — who can use your ERP solution, and where can they use it?
An on-premises (or on-prem) solution refers to an ERP system that is housed on hardware inside your business’ physical location. Staff members that are on site access it directly through their computers. An on-prem solution is definitely a viable option for newer companies. It can handle your cross-departmental data — and training new employees will be much easier. If there’s less data to handle and fewer employees, it’s not too challenging to keep everything in order. However, as your processes become more advanced, you’ll need more data storage space, and room to expand your operations.
Think of a cloud ERP solution as a build-your-own ERP experience. With cloud, you have far more freedom. Data restrictions are a thing of the past, making it ideal for a growing company. You can also easily take your business on the road or work from home, and operate from as many locations as needed. Using a cloud-based solution also means that your security is stronger than ever. Cloud solutions use encryption codes to keep data from falling into the wrong hands. On an internal level, you can also adjust which members of your staff can access certain features of the software as needed. With the cloud, you can do everything an on-prem solution can do, but you also have additional flexibility and opportunities for integrations that will boost your overall efficiency.
Specificity in ERP
ERP solutions can also vary in terms of how specifically curated they are for the user. This doesn’t just refer to customization options, though. Some solutions are intentionally designed for mass appeal. Others are compiled and tweaked by their users to meet their specific needs.
A monolithic or general ERP solution can be problematic and challenging. Because they are designed for general use, you might end up paying for features that you don’t need, or working without other functionalities that you do need. And while any ERP solution is better than no ERP solution, we’d argue that going the more general route might cause some unneeded challenges that could be avoided with a specialized solution.
Verticals, in this case, refer to software solutions that are industry-specific. On one hand, there’s plenty of cross-industry overlap in terms of software needs. For example, a usable workflow to streamline operations in a warehouse is universally appealing. However, there might be some things that may not be as applicable. A distribution company certainly needs a solution with a heavy focus on shipping workflow, while users in other industries may not prioritize this as strongly.
In some cases, smaller companies with more specific, nuanced needs will composite various ERP vendors under one system. This is referred to as a “best-in-breed” solution. They’ll find the best accounting platform and the best CRM platform, then operate them separately. While those individual solutions may work brilliantly for managing your payroll or accessing customer information, it’s still not an ideal way to set up your software. The reason? It’ll become a huge challenge when you’re working on a project that requires information from more than one sector of your company. If your software programs aren’t designed to work together, you’re not being as efficient as you could be.
We’re moving towards the future of ERP, and a postmodern strategy is the light guiding the way. A postmodern ERP solution combines all the best attributes of other ERP solutions into one easy and accessible place. You select the best performing options for each piece of your operations, similar to the best-in-breed system. But this way, they’re all working from the same software solution, and are able to effectively share data. A postmodern solution brings all the pieces of your ERP puzzle together. This leads to greater ease in creating workflows that span every department in your company, better visibility, and an easily updatable interface that grows as your company does.
Adopting an ERP system is a big step, and we want to make sure you’re prepared, no matter what solution you choose. There’s plenty of variety in the world of ERP, so make sure you have a good understanding of what your company needs out of your business software solution. It’ll make your search much easier.
Once you begin narrowing down your options and start to demo solutions, you’ll need a game plan. Check out our blog post that breaks down exactly how you should prepare for your ERP demo. We’re here to keep you informed as you navigate through your ERP journey.