Sticker shock is common when searching out an ERP system. If you are preparing to move off of an introductory system like QuickBooks to a proper ERP system you must be prepared to make a significant investment in your business. The good news is there are several ways to reduce the up-front costs of a new system.
Implementing a Hosted (Cloud) Solution
For the uninitiated, a cloud solution is a software system that is hosted on the vendor’s servers and accessed over the internet. Hosted solutions serve to eliminate the need for maintaining your own servers along with other benefits.
Cloud solutions are typically charged on a monthly basis and can be much more affordable for start-up and smaller companies. Many upfront costs, including hardware and license fees, can be saved by implementing a cloud-based system. Instead, you will be responsible only for a monthly fee that will include all costs you would otherwise need to come up with upfront. Upgrades are also included in monthly fees resulting in the elimination for significant expenditure down the road as well.
Reduce Data Migration
As part of implementing a new software system, data from the old software must be migrated (converted). The amount of data brought over, however, is up to you so cost savings can be found if some less-important data can be done away with.
Aiding in the data migration process can also save money. Typically a consultant must spend the time required to extract the data from the current system to move over to the new system. Many hours of migration can be saved if you have your staff help prepare this data (e.g. have your staff export and organize the data in an excel sheet to then be easily imported into the new system).
Many software packages have add-ons that include specific functionality that may only be wish-list features. As a result, new or small companies can often run their operations very well on the basic system without these add-ons. You can then decide to implement desired features in the future at a convenient time when your budget allows for it.
As with most capital-intensive purchases, financing or payment options are often available. A deal can be worked out to reduce initial expenditure so that you can get on the proper system now to accommodate the growth you will see in the future.
Implementing a proper software system for your business can be an expensive undertaking. It is crucial, however, to understand the importance of such an investment and to treat it like an acquisition of any other significant business asset – such as a truck, person or machine. When viewed in this way, the cost will seem much more reasonable when compared with other business assets.