Medium sized businesses often end up with sub-optimal software solutions in ERP and other areas, and all too often they accept this state of affairs rather than working to correct it. Instead of settling for ERP designed for companies much larger or much smaller than your own, operating under different business models or frameworks, it's vital that you take the necessary steps to optimize software solutions to match the way you do business.
Fortunately, this doesn't mean putting together a team to program new software solutions from the ground up, nor does it mean giving up on the convenience of a widely-adopted ERP solution compatible with your other business software. Here are the steps you should consider to optimize ERP performance.
1. Add additional enhancement software created for your specific operational needs
While it's possible to build or rebuild ERP software solutions to meet your custom needs, it's usually far easier to work with enhancement software to bring your needs in line with the software's capabilities. This allows you to minimize costs and retain all the integration and coordination inherent to a mature ERP software solution, while also giving you the optimized, personalized tools you need to thrive.
For example, if you're working with a general purpose ERP solution alongside a piece of software unique to your particular industry or niche, enhancement software that helps these two pieces of software work together may already exist—and if not, it should be a relatively simple to program the intermediary. This is just one of the many ways enhancement software can improve the functionality of your ERP.
IIG creates custom ERP software solutions for both Acumatica and Sage 100 ERP systems built for numerous industries and their needs, for example. Some may be available off-the-shelf for your needs, if they are common enough, while other needs may be met with only minor adjustments.
2. Hire custom programmers certified in your specific ERP software to custom design enhancement software
If enhancement software isn't available that meets your needs, then you'll need to go a step further for effective customization. That means finding ERP specialists who can turn your needs into a functional design for custom ERP software enhancement.
This could be done as a one-off project with a certified third-party specialist firm or with certified independent contractors in many cases, though companies with more flexible software considerations may want to hire or contract ERP specialists long-term for ongoing ERP custom programming. Ideally, you'll be working with a mainstream ERP solution—this will make it far easier to find a qualified specialist for the job.
Even if you're confident in your in-house team, this is a good idea when working with the complexities of ERP custom programming touching on complex interactions, or when dealing with more nuanced or critical components of the way you do business. An error that results in wasted time or lost money is bad, an error that results in compliance failures or liability concerns is much, much worse.
Custom programmers should be certified with your ERP software solution, or at least highly familiar with it if it lacks a certification program. IIG, for example, features an entire in-house development team certified in programming for both Acumatica and Sage ERP software. This ensures a smooth development process with a minimum of missteps and wasted man-hours spent learning the software's intricacies.
3. Consult with a company who specializes in your specific ERP software for direction
It's not unusual to find yourself certain you need a customized enhancement for your ERP software to reach peak efficiency and efficacy, but not sure what that customized solution should entail. In these cases, it's often best to consult a company specializing in enhancement software for your ERP.
They'll have seen enough use cases to give you a good idea of what is possible and what is likely to be beneficial. This is another reason to look for a team with specific knowledge of the ERP software you're looking at. If you need help with Acumatica or Sage 100 ERP software, then you'll want to work with a company like IIG with a certified staff of consultants and developers specializing in those solutions.
This is also an area where experience counts for as much as or more than specific technical expertise. A company with a decade or more of experience with a software solution and its close predecessors will be far better equipped to offer insight into the enhancements that will make your business thrive, when compared to a company late come to a particular family of software solutions.
Knowledge of your industry or of businesses with similar models to your own will also help immensely, though not as much as specific knowledge of the ERP suite you're utilizing. For this reason, it's important that you think carefully and communicate consistently with the company you're consulting with, to ensure they have the fullest possible picture of what you need, what you'd like, and what other software you'll be working with.
Making the most of ERP software means making sure your software solutions fit your company, rather than trying to fit your company to preexisting software. All the more so when using high end solutions designed for massive international companies or small entrepreneurial firms rather than established medium-sized businesses.
Invest the time and resources into customizing your ERP to match the way you do business; your company will save significantly by minimizing wasted time, inaccurate or non-actionable assessments, and other headaches inherent to working with pure off-the-shelf solutions. Depending on your software needs and company size, this may mean nursing an in-house team to handle the day to day adjustments, outsourcing everything to an effective third-party ERP solutions provider, or leveraging consultants for something in between. To learn more or for any questions you may have, email IIG directly at email@example.com.