Which ERP considerations should one make before implementing an ERP system?
Having to implement an ERP system can seem overwhelming. As a result, we have compiled a few factors that we recommend you include in your ERP considerations:
What can Business Central do?
What can Business Central do in the standard solution?
Your first ERP consideration should be what Business Central can do in the standard solution. For example, Business Central has built-in CRM functionality, which for some companies can easily support their CRM needs. If your sales processes are more long-term, you may want to consider Dynamics 365 Sales in combination with Business Central.
You should also consider whether there are other Dynamics applications you want to implement with Business Central. We are happy to help identify your needs, and to give you an understanding of what Business Central and the various applications can do.
Which add-ons and integrations can you use?
Add-ons and integrations
An example of an integration is Power Apps. Power Apps is an exciting tool that allows you to build custom business apps – completely without code. You can use Power Apps to support multiple processes involving workflow, automation, data visualization, reporting, and collaboration.
Read more about Power Apps here.
An example of an add-on is Continia Document Capture, which is a document management module. where you can streamline and automate all steps in the daily handling of documents. This applies to everything from receiving and registering a document to approving, posting, and retrieving documents from the digital archive. Via Continia Document Capture, you can scan invoices, so that they go directly into Business Central.
Another example of an integration is a time registration portal, i.e. Microsoft Portals, where employees can register time which then go directly into Business Central, for example in regards to project management, invoicing and / or salary calculation.
Which processes should Business Central handle?
Your processes and change management:
The next ERP consideration is about how to document your existing processes, which are to be included in the ERP system, for example:
- Sales processes
- Purchasing processes
- Financial processes
- Inventory management
- Project management
- Production management
All processes must be covered in such a way, that we understand how you currently handle these processes and how Business Central can optimize them. You should also consider whether it is the system or the processes that need to be adapted.
Documentation of processes is something you can easily prepare yourself, but since we have tried it countless times, we are happy to help. The result of this part of the ERP considerations can give us an idea of whether you need Change Management or not. We often see a desire to copy the workings of old systems into a new system, which is rarely a good idea. Implementing a new ERP system should be an opportunity to clean up your processes.
We also often see that new systems make many manual processes redundant. For example, Business Central can help you become paperless, as all documents can be stored digitally in the system.
When implementing a new ERP system, the organization often changes existing business processes and develops new processes. It can be new ways of purchasing or new ways of managing inventory. The company changes and Change Management plays an important role here.
Experience has shown us that Change Management and education are the primary factors when it comes to anchoring change in the organization and being successful with it. We are aware that the value of the ERP system often stands and falls with this change. That is why we advise on Change Management. Our approach is based both on theoretical models and on 19 years of experience with what works in practice in different industries.
If you need to implement CRM, please also read CRM considerations.
Which customizations do you need in relation to the processes that are to be handled in Business Central?
When installing Business Central, it is always a standard out-of-the-box solution with Microsoft terminology and processes.
In other words, it is not customized to your business, your terminology, or processes, and will not bring the value to your business that you will be able to achieve with a customized system. One of the clear advantages of Business Central, is that the solution can be customized almost infinitely to suit your needs and your processes.
Customizations provide a better user and customer experience because they are rooted in your business and customer experience.
Customizations can be simple as well as comprehensive and should be part of your ERP considerations.
Do you want on-premise, cloud, or a hybrid?
On-premise or cloud
Business Central can run both as an on-premise or cloud solution, which is an important area to include in your ERP considerations. All companies have dual rights, which means that you can decide whether you want a cloud solution or a local installation – or a hybrid solution. MicroPartner is happy to help you identify your needs and find the best solution.
The advantage of running Business Central as a cloud solution, is that you know what it costs and that there are no start-up costs such as server installation.
In addition, Business Central is continuously updated automatically. The updates typically come every 6 months and ensure that you are always on the latest version with high security from Microsoft. As a result, the cloud solution is the most future-proof solution. Another advantage is that it will often be a cheaper solution, as you avoid server costs. With the cloud solution, it is easy to establish a test database or a so-called sandbox, where you can test new functionalities and / or run training in the system.
In relation to the automatic updates, you must test your own customizations in the system in relation to updates, and in some cases the customizations must be corrected.
The advantage of the on-premise solution is that it is located in the local environment, which you can control yourself. For example, you have a greater influence on performance and safety. You maintain on-premise yourself and you choose when you want to run updates.
With On-premise, it is also easy to establish a test database or a so-called sandbox, where you can test new functionalities and / or run training in the system.
Whether it is cloud, on-premise, or a hybrid that is right for you can be completely individual. Perhaps your company has a policy, that you only run cloud or only on-premise? Either way, we are happy to advise you on the various solutions.
Which request do you have for reporting?
Options and needs for reporting
The next ERP consideration is which type of reporting you need. Perhaps you are used to working with different types of reports?
Business Central comes with a free Power BI license, which allows you to create beautiful visual reports. If you do not have experience with Power BI, we always recommend a review of Power BI as well of training in making reports. As setting up reports is usually not something you do so often, it may be more cost effective to let us to set up these reports.
In addition to Power BI, Business Central comes with an account form functionality, where we can adapt Business Centrals’ standard reports, e.g., income statement and balance sheet.
Which operating costs and licenses does Business Central require?
Operating costs and licenses
Business Central has many license types, that should also be included in your ERP considerations. We always analyze your needs before we recommend the type of license you need. For example, a combination of different licenses can mean that the price per. month becomes cheaper.
The license prices should therefore be included in your ERP considerations, as they will be part of your total operating costs. As will ongoing maintenance, further development of the system and support.
What is your budget?
The last ERP consideration is about budget. We are often asked the question: How much does it cost to implement an ERP system? But the question might as well be: What is the price of a car? Because just like with cars, you can get an ERP system in different price ranges. The price depends on many different parameters, including the type of license, how many users will use the solution, which customizations and integrations you need, etc.
As a result, you should consider what your budget is.