With recent advancements in the ERP industry, including more robust cloud-based solutions, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things integration, trying to navigate the multitude of ERP options can be challenging. That’s why we’ve updated this guide to reflect essential tips for successful ERP evaluation, this time covering the latest industry developments so you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business today and tomorrow.


Wanting to select the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for your business often means you’re at a crossroads of wanting to become more efficient while aiming to drive growth. And if you’ve done a recent search for ERP, you may have noticed the overwhelming amount of options on the market.

When you dive into your ERP search, most people don’t know where to start. Some begin their search by looking at industry-specific solutions or systems available on the cloud. The truth is, most ERP 

Following this guide ensures a smooth ERP selection process, ultimately contributing to your long-term success, so let’s kick things off which an oldie but a goodie:


Tip 1: Management Buy-in

A crucial first step in the ERP evaluation process is securing the support of upper management. The success of any ERP implementation project largely depends on the commitment and involvement of the decision-makers within your organization.

Steps to securing upper management’s support:
  1. Present the benefits of upgrading or replacing the current ERP system, highlighting how it can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enable better decision-making.
  2. Share case studies or examples from other businesses in your industry that have successfully adopted new ERP solutions.
  3. Address potential concerns or objections by providing well-researched information, emphasizing the long-term benefits and return on investment.
  4. Discuss the time frame, features, and budget early on to establish a realistic time frame for the ERP selection and implementation process.
  5. Consider factors like the complexity of the project and the availability of resources as you identify the key features and functionalities
  6. Collaborate with management to set a budget that takes into account not only the upfront costs but also ongoing expenses such as maintenance, support, and training.


Tip 2: Involve Stakeholders

A successful ERP implementation requires the input and collaboration of various stakeholders within your organization. Involving representatives from each department in the evaluation process helps ensure your ERP addresses the needs and requirements of all users.

Try to engage personnel from different departments by forming an ERP evaluation committee. In the committee, encourage open communication and collaboration between members, fostering a sense of shared ownership in the project. By scheduling regular meetings and updates, you’re better able to keep everyone informed and engaged throughout the evaluation process.


Get the ERP Evaluation Checklist

Use this checklist along with our 8 Tips for Successful ERP Evaluation to discover what to look for in a new ERP platform, strategic ways to evaluate your needs, and ensure your team is on board.


Remember the importance of user experience. Evaluate every potential ERP solution with user experience in mind, selecting a system that offers intuitive interfaces, easy navigation, and efficient workflows. Gather end-users feedback on their current system experiences, identifying pain points, limitations, and desired improvements and remember that a positive user experience promotes higher adoption rates and overall satisfaction, contributing to the success of the ERP implementation.


Tip 3: Understand Your Business

Before heading down the ERP evaluation process, have a thorough understanding of your business, including its processes, strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas for improvement.

Analyze internal processes by documenting your organization’s current processes, workflows, and procedures across all departments. You’ll want to identify areas where an ERP solution can streamline, optimize, or automate processes. Consider potential integration points with other systems, such as CRM, e-commerce platforms, or IoT devices, to enhance efficiency and data flow.

When assessing your organization’s strengths, begin by pinpointing what sets you apart from competitors and contributes to your success. Recognize weaknesses or areas of inefficiency that could be addressed by implementing a new ERP solution and then evaluate the potential impact of an ERP system on your organization’s performance, considering factors like scalability, adaptability, and data-driven decision-making.

When considering potential automation and IoT integration:
  • Identify processes or tasks that could benefit from automation, such as repetitive data entry or routine calculations.
  • Explore how IoT devices and sensors can be integrated with your ERP system to enable real-time data collection and monitoring of assets, inventory, or equipment.
  • Assess the potential benefits of automation and IoT integration in terms of efficiency, cost savings, and improved decision-making.


Tip 4: Consider Cloud and Mobile Solutions

In recent years, cloud-based and mobile ERP solutions have become increasingly popular due to their flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. When evaluating ERP systems, it’s essential to consider the benefits and drawbacks of these modern solutions and determine whether they align with your organization’s needs and objectives.

Assessing benefits and drawbacks of cloud-based ERP:

  • Lower upfront costs and reduced need for in-house IT infrastructure.
  • Enhanced accessibility and collaboration, allowing employees to access the system from anywhere with internet access.
  • Greater scalability allows you to add or remove users and resources as needed.

Here are some of the drawbacks:

  • Potential concerns about data security and privacy, depending on the provider’s security measures and protocols.
  • Reliance on a stable internet connection for system access and performance.
  • Limited customization options compared to some on-premises solutions.

When evaluating mobile ERPs, assess the availability and functionality of mobile apps for the ERP system you are considering. Determine how mobile access to the ERP system could benefit your employees, such as providing real-time data and insights, streamlining workflows, or enabling remote work and consider the security implications of providing mobile access to your ERP system and how to mitigate potential risks.


Tip 5: Evaluate AI and Machine Learning Capabilities

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies have been increasingly integrated into ERP systems, offering advanced analytics, automation, and forecasting capabilities. When evaluating ERP solutions, it’s crucial to consider the potential benefits of these cutting-edge features and determine whether they align with your organization’s strategic objectives.

When examining AI and machine learning features in potential ERP systems, assessing their capabilities, such as predictive analytics, demand forecasting, or automated data entry is essential. Evaluate the ease of use and accessibility of these features to ensure that your organization’s personnel can effectively utilize them.


What’s inside the ERP Evaluation Checklist

  • Tips for starting your ERP search
  • How to consider stakeholders across teams (Finance, HR, Sales, Marketing, Service, etc.)
  • How to consider the tools, systems, and skills are required to use the ERP you choose
  • Considerations you can’t miss for ERP project success to help you decide

Don’t forget to consider the potential for custom AI and machine learning solutions tailored to your organization’s specific needs and challenges.The benefits of improved analytics, automation, and forecasting include enhanced decision-making, increased efficiency, and better forecasting. AI-powered analytics can provide valuable insights and recommendations, enabling more informed decisions and improving overall business performance.

Machine learning algorithms can analyze historical data and identify patterns, helping your organization better predict future trends and make proactive adjustments. Automating repetitive tasks and processes can free up employee time and resources, allowing them to focus on higher-value activities.


Tip 6: Determine Technology Requirements

When evaluating ERP systems, it’s essential to consider the technology requirements and infrastructure needed to support the chosen solution. Understanding these requirements will help you select a system that is compatible with your existing technology and ensures a smooth implementation process.

To ensure compatibility with existing systems:
  1. Begin by identifying the software and hardware systems currently in use within your organization, such as CRM, e-commerce platforms, or accounting software.
  2. Determine whether the ERP solutions can integrate with or replace these existing systems, ensuring seamless data flow and minimal disruption to your workflows.
  3. Consult with your IT personnel to identify any potential technical challenges or limitations that may arise during implementation and integration.

Next, assess whether your organization’s current IT infrastructure can support the chosen ERP system, considering server capacity, network speed, and security protocols. Determine any necessary upgrades or investments to support the ERP system, such as new hardware, software licenses, or IT staff training. Include these costs in your overall ERP implementation project budget, ensuring you understand the total investment required.

Finally, consider data storage and security when evaluating ERP systems. Evaluate the data storage options offered by the ERP systems under consideration, such as cloud-based storage or on-premises servers. Assess the security measures and protocols in place to protect your organization’s sensitive data, including encryption, access controls, and data backup and recovery options. Ensure the chosen ERP solution complies with relevant data protection regulations and industry standards applicable to your organization.

Tip 7: Identify Necessities vs. Bonuses

When evaluating ERP systems, it’s important to differentiate between essential features that align with your organization’s core needs and “bonus” features that, while beneficial, may not be critical to your operations. By focusing on necessities first, you can ensure that the chosen solution meets your most pressing requirements while staying within your budget.

Begin by prioritizing core functionality when evaluating ERP systems. Create a list of must-have features and functionalities crucial to your organization’s operations, such as inventory management, financial reporting, or CRM integration. Evaluate potential ERP systems based on their ability to meet these core requirements, prioritizing solutions that fulfill your most critical needs.

Remember that additional features can sometimes be added through third-party integrations or custom development, so focus on essential capabilities first. Assess bonus features and their value. Identify any additional features or functionalities the ERP systems offer that could benefit your organization, such as advanced analytics, mobile access, or AI-driven forecasting.

When you consider the potential return on investment (ROI) of these bonus features, weigh their benefits against their costs and complexity. Factor these bonus features into your decision-making process but remember that they should not overshadow the core functionality required by your organization.

Finally, balance necessities and bonuses in your final decision. Rank potential ERP solutions based on their ability to meet your organization’s core needs and the value provided by any additional features. Keep your budget in mind, ensuring that you don’t overextend your resources by opting for a system with too many bonus features at the expense of essential functionality. Remember that the best ERP solution for your organization will strike a balance between addressing your most pressing needs and offering added value through bonus features.

Tip 8: Anticipate Growth or Contraction

Selecting an ERP system that will adapt to your organization’s future growth or contraction is crucial. A scalable and flexible ERP system ensures it will continue to meet your needs as your business evolves.

Begin by assessing scalability and adaptability. Evaluate the ERP systems’ ability to scale up or down with your organization’s growth, considering factors like user capacity, data storage, and module availability.

Determine whether the system can be easily customized or reconfigured to accommodate changes in your business processes or requirements. Explore the options for adding or removing features, users, or modules as needed, ensuring that the system remains cost-effective and efficient.

Next, prepare for potential growth. Consider the potential impact of business expansion on your ERP system, such as the need for additional modules, integrations, or user licenses. Evaluate the system’s ability to handle increased data volumes and transaction processing, ensuring that it can maintain optimal performance as your business grows. Look for a solution that offers seamless integration with complementary systems or tools that may become necessary as your business expands, such as e-commerce platforms, advanced analytics, or warehouse management systems.

Then plan for potential contraction. Assess the ERP system’s flexibility in adapting to potential changes in your organization, such as the loss of a major client or a shift in product lines. Determine whether the system allows for cost savings through the removal of unused modules, features, or user licenses, ensuring that it remains cost-effective even during periods of contraction. Consider the system’s ability to support your organization’s agility and resilience in the face of changing market conditions or business challenges.

Tip 9: Calculate Costs

Understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an ERP system is crucial when making an informed decision. Many organizations focus solely on the upfront investment, but it’s essential to consider both initial and ongoing costs to ensure that the chosen solution remains cost-effective in the long run.

Start by identifying initial investment costs. Assess the upfront costs of the ERP systems under consideration, including software licenses, implementation fees, and any necessary hardware upgrades. Factor in the costs of customization or integration with existing systems, as well as data migration and initial training for your staff. Remember to account for any required technology upgrades or infrastructure improvements to support the chosen ERP system.

Next, evaluate ongoing expenses. Identify recurring costs, such as annual maintenance fees, software updates, and upgrades. Consider the costs of ongoing support, which may be billed annually, hourly, or on a tiered basis depending on the provider. Factor in any additional expenses related to hardware, technology requirements, and license renewals.

To calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO):
  1. Combine the initial investment costs and ongoing expenses to estimate the TCO of each potential ERP system.
  2. Compare the TCO of the different solutions, keeping in mind that a lower upfront cost may not necessarily result in lower long-term expenses.
  3. Ensure that the chosen ERP system aligns with your organization’s budget constraints and delivers the best value in terms of features and functionality.
  4. Assess the return on investment (ROI). Consider the potential benefits and efficiencies gained from the ERP system, such as improved productivity, reduced operational costs, or increased sales.
  5. Estimate the expected ROI by comparing these benefits to the TCO, ensuring that the chosen system will deliver a positive financial impact on your organization.

Keep in mind that while the initial investment may be significant, a well-implemented ERP system can yield substantial long-term benefits, making it a worthwhile investment.

Tip 10: Complete a Side-by-Side Comparison

After carefully evaluating each ERP solution based on the previous tips, it’s essential to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the top contenders to make a well-informed decision. This final step allows you to objectively weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each system, ensuring that you choose the best fit for your organization’s needs and goals.

To effectively compare your ERP options, consider using an ERP matrix or scorecard for evaluation. This tool can help you organize and compare essential criteria, such as functionality, cost, scalability, and integration capabilities. By assigning a score or weight to each criterion, you can easily visualize the advantages and disadvantages of each ERP system. This quantitative approach provides a clear and objective basis for your final decision, ensuring you have thoroughly analyzed all relevant factors.

By completing a side-by-side comparison of potential ERP solutions, you can confidently select the system that best aligns with your organization’s requirements and objectives, setting the stage for successful implementation and a strong foundation for future growth.

In the end, selecting the right ERP system is a critical decision that will significantly impact your organization’s efficiency, productivity, and overall success. By following our updated tips for successful ERP evaluation, you can navigate the complex landscape of ERP solutions with confidence and make an informed decision that best meets your organization’s needs.

By investing in the right ERP solution, you can lay the groundwork for long-term success and continued growth in today’s competitive market. With careful planning, thorough evaluation, and a clear understanding of your organization’s objectives, you can select an ERP system that not only addresses your immediate needs but also empowers your organization to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing business environment.


What’s inside the ERP Evaluation Checklist

  • Tips for starting your ERP search
  • How to consider stakeholders across teams (Finance, HR, Sales, Marketing, Service, etc.)
  • How to consider the tools, systems, and skills are required to use the ERP you choose
  • Considerations you can’t miss for ERP project success to help you decide

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