As your business grows, one of the things you’ll eventually find is that your manual processes don’t cut it any more. A high level of activity is great, but not when it takes you three hours each day to compile financial reports and update your stock levels. Many companies turn to ERP for this reason, as it allows them to streamline their processes and keep all of their business data in one place.
This is particularly relevant to companies in the retail and wholesale sector that have recently made the move to ecommerce. All sorts of problems (like inventory tracking or data entry, for example) can arise as a result of poor integration between your ecommerce platform and your various business systems.
If you’re in this position, the deciding factor in your choice of ERP solution will therefore be whether it’s the best one to integrate with your ecommerce platform. And, if you’re anything like a lot of your peers, your platform will probably be Magento – a popular open-source option which claims to be the fastest-growing solution in Europe.
However, before you start comparing products, you should be aware that two implementations of the same ERP solution can be very, very different. It’s perhaps less constructive to look at their features and ease of Magento integration, and more important to consider the nature of your business and the service you’ll get from a specific ERP implementation partner.
We recommend you look at the following:
Will the solution grow with your business?
ERP is a good way for an ambitious small business to solve growing pains, but it’s an expensive, long-term commitment. You should think about how an integrated ERP and ecommerce solution is going to support your business in the long term, and whether any of your plans for the future will require extensive changes at extra cost.
Don’t see it as a quick fix – find a solution that will grow and evolve with your business, and a partner who won’t just cut and run.
Cloud, hosted or on-premises?
The modern ERP market gives you a number of options in terms of whether you want a cloud, hosted or on-premises solution. Before you start thinking about Magento integration, it’s important you identify which is the right delivery model for your needs.
Cloud tends to be described as the more cost-effective option (although subscription-based pricing can, in reality, make it difficult to get an accurate picture of TCO), but the flexibility of a hosted or on-premises solution can be a major asset with a complex software project like an ERP ecommerce integration.
The features you need from the integration
This is partly down to the ERP solution you choose, but it’s also partly down to the integration solution your ERP partner can offer. You should think carefully about the specific business needs that you would like the software to address and use this to inform your decision. You should also check whether you’ll need custom code to put certain features in place or whether this can be achieved with a pre-existing solution.
Who will support you?
An evolving business coupled with complex software means the right support is critical. Different ERP solutions have different support options and costs (as discussed in our recent blog here).
Its good practice to ask partners what they can offer for you (is it covered by their fee or provided on a pay-per-ticket basis, for example) and whether your plan will cover any problems in the Magento integration as well as your ERP solution.
As you can see, the decision on the best ERP solution to choose should not be taken lightly. You should steer away from just thinking about the features on offer or the ease of integration with Magento. Instead you should focus on the wider picture: what does your business actually need, and what should you look for in an ERP solution and partner to deliver this?
If you want to learn more about successful ecommerce integration with SAP Business One, one of the most popular ERP solutions for small and medium-sized companies, read our five-minute guide.