Is there such a thing as best ERP technology?

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Every so often, I get asked about the best technology for business software and ERP, or if a solution includes the trendy buzzword of the day. I typically don’t answer these questions directly as it is often loaded with preconceived ideas and influenced by marketing messages.

Instead, I ask them why technology is important and what their needs are. After exploring  a few “whys”, here are some of the real business needs that come out of these, often passionate, discussions.

1.            Long term availability

An ERP is a key component in a business. I compare it to our nervous system in our body, carrying instructions and information to its different parts. It always surprises me when companies invest millions in physical assets and close to nothing in software that would help maximize their return on investment.

Implementing an ERP solution is a big step that can change the way you do business and significantly improve profitability. It requires considering planning and investment as all business processes need to be mapped and staff trained to use the new application. Therefore an ERP solution should fulfil the need of a business for at least 10 years, allowing the company to focus on growth and efficiency.

A strong product roadmap, cultural alignment and trust between the vendor and the customer, as well as the financial strength of the vendor are as important, if not more, than integrating the latest fashionable JavaScript library.

2.            Reliability

The best ERP solutions are built on mature technologies, evolving progressively while maintaining product stability and usability. Business software should just work; it should become invisible to the user.

At a personal level, we expect our mobile phones to connect when we need to call someone. We assume that our car’s engine will run when we turn the key. While we understand and accept that there are some monthly costs and maintenance, our need is continuity of service and reliability.

The best ERP solutions will integrate new technology when mature enough to provide certainty and reliability. For example at Pronto Software, we constantly explore new technologies (the Research component of R&D), but only develop if a technology has reached an acceptable level of reliability.

3.            Fit for purpose

Whatever the technology, there is not a single answer for everything. The passion behind technology should come after a proper analysis of the problem we try to solve. Once properly identified, we can then look at the best technology to use.

The best ERP solutions are not bound by a specific technology. They run on multiple platforms, integrate with industry standards and use multiple technologies to provide the required functionality.

This flexibility in the use of technology is an indication that your ERP vendor is focussed on providing added value to your business by using - fit for purpose - technology to solve real business problems.

In summary, the best ERP solutions are not bound by the hype cycle that comes with new technology. They will provide you with real solutions for your business, levelling the peak of expectations, avoiding the through of disillusionment and providing you with real productivity.

Tech HypeCycle

 (Fig 1: Technology hype cycle)

 

 

Paul Goepfert

Paul Goepfert

Paul Goepfert is the Marketing Manager for ERP vendor Pronto Software. @PaulGoepfert

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