We talk a lot about why you should invest in a digital ERP system. What we talk about less are the reasons why you might not. We know it's a big decision - we just happen to think it's worth it.
So here are our 8 top reasons NOT to invest in a shiny new ERP system.
1) It’s really expensive
There’s no getting away from it. Good ERP software, complete with implementation package, continual upgrade capability and full-time helpdesk support, does not come cheap.
But would you want it to? Your business is pretty important, yes? It makes sense to invest in systems which can help it to thrive, and which can evolve alongside it. The time, experience and cost of designing, building, delivering and servicing complex ERP systems is immense, and so the cost is always going to be high. But the potential value of a great system to drive process efficiency, waste reduction and profitability is much greater. In fact, a good ERP system should be able to pay for itself in the value it brings to your business and even add value on top.
So when you think about it, is it really that expensive?
2) It’s disruptive to implement
Yes. Yes it is. Again, no getting away from it. Changing to a new system is never a walk in the park.
Firstly, NOT changing can be much more damaging in the long run, as you lose out on scalability and functionality which can really benefit your business and boost efficiencies and process improvements across the board.
Secondly, choosing a cloud system means, on the whole, significantly less disruption than any legacy system could ever dream of. Everything from demo to training can be done remotely, and if your chosen system happens to be intuitively designed for easy use, your workforce can be up and running much faster than you might imagine.
3) I’m going to lose a lot of data moving systems
Well yes, you might. It’s a possibility. Data migration can be painful, depending on the interoperability of the systems you’re switching between and the complexity of the information you’re carrying over.
But when was the last time you audited all the information you hold? When did you last give it a good spring clean and make sure it’s all up to date? It might be a hassle, but actually migrating data can be a brilliant opportunity to give your information an overhaul and make sure it’s a) up to date, b) relevant and c) in a format that will be compatible with other systems, like your PIM or CRM system. So while you might "lose" some data along the way, it's likely only to be information that you are better off without.
4) My staff are going to hate me for this
OK, so people don’t often like change, or the idea of it. If you’ve been using a particular system for years, it’s may seem easier to stick with it. And as we've said before, implementing a new system can be disruptive and involves work and learning.
But "easier" isn’t necessarily what’s best for your business. Or, for that matter, for your people. How do you know what might work better, faster and more efficiently, if you don’t look around at what’s in the market? New digital systems like Merchanter are designed with ease of use front and centre. It’s not difficult to learn, and it makes every process, every day, simpler and easier for a more productive and enjoyable experience. So while you might get a bit of resistance up front, they’re going to thank you in the long run.
5) I don’t want to pay for a load of features I don’t need
Of course you don’t. Why would you? Your business is unique, and has its own requirements. Some are small and just getting started while others have years of habit and experience of doing things in a certain way. Some are expanding, some are diversifying – but all of them need to make intelligent business decisions which ensure the future continuity of the business.
Some ERP systems, like Merchanter, offer a range of user options so you can simply pick the features package each user will require. That means you’re not paying over the odds for features you don’t need or want. But it also means that as you grow, you can easily switch between user bands to enable more advanced functionality or new features to suit emerging parts of the business.
6) We’ve used the same supplier for years
OK, this one is harder to get around and we hear you. We’ve worked with loads of our customers for a very long time and we would hate to see any of them jump ship and look elsewhere. That said, if it were the right decision for their business, we would of course understand.
Relationships are extremely important, and if you work with a supplier you trust and respect, but aren’t happy with the software, why not talk to them about it? Modern system architecture often enables faster adaptation and addition of new features so it’s possible your current system can be upgraded to have the functionality you need. And sometimes the business decision will outweigh the relationship and you need to do what’s best for your people and your business.
Whatever your situation, we urge you to choose a software supplier who you get on with, who takes the time to understand your business and who you see yourself having a good working relationship with. The software is really important, but so are the people and relationships involved, and we know these decisions aren’t always easy.
7) It doesn’t do EXACTLY what we need it to do
This can be a deal breaker, for sure. Maybe you were looking for an end-to-end system, but the one you like doesn’t have an accounts package. Maybe you wanted a module for transport, or a particular function for supplier rebate management.
Firstly, if you’re looking at a cloud-based system, talk to the supplier. Modern system architecture is far more flexible than with traditional systems, so it’s far more feasible to adapt and add functions and features than it used to be.
Secondly, if the system has a good level of interoperability with third party apps and platforms, you don’t necessarily need it to do everything. Linking in with a specialist accounts package like Sage or Xero might be simpler (especially if you already use it!) and often it’s cheaper and quicker to simply link with a sector specialist than to design custom software features from scratch. (Find out more on this subject here).
So yes, it CAN be a deal-breaker. But it doesn’t have to be.
8) I don’t know which to choose – there’s a lot of choice out there
There are lots of great digital ERP options out there for merchants like you. And, while we appreciate that it doesn’t make the decision any easier, that’s a great position to be in, as it means you can shop around and find both the software and supplier that suits you and your business best.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve written a handy starter for 10 guide on how to choose a new ERP system, which might help to get you started. And if you register here, we’ll send you login details for our own Merchanter online demo system so you can have a play for yourself.
The wealth of choice on offer can be bewildering but it’s a great position to be in. Don’t rely on habit – ask more from your IT supplier, and get the best software for you.
Still not convinced?
If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your trading or stock management system but for whatever reason, haven’t done so yet – it might be time to ask yourself what’s stopping you. There has never been a more urgent need for merchants to embrace the opportunities that digital ERP systems have to offer, and provide an upscaled level of productivity, service and profitability. So maybe it's finally time to say YES.
If you'd like to try Merchanter completely free and with no obligation and no pesky sales people loitering in the background, just register here and we will send you login details for the online demo system.