Different kinds of enterprise resource planning (ERP) products include software, hosting and consulting. These ERP products compose a company’s ERP program, and can be specific to a certain function or industry. Hiring a consultant to diagnose and provide the business with a plan for its software and hosting needs is a good start for businesses new in this area. After determining its needs, the business can select the proper type of software and hosting to start its program. It is important for businesses to choose their ERP products carefully, as this decision can be a costly investment and significantly affect its return on investment (ROI).
Consultants for ERP products provides businesses new to this field with an experienced professional to handle the integration and training. Consultants are also useful for businesses currently using ERP products, as they can help optimize current processes and search for ways to improve or reduce costs. These professionals provide businesses with fresh ideas and unique perspectives on what they need for their programs and offer recommendations or solutions. When selecting a consultant, inquire about his experience, background in using ERP products, ability to come on location and pricing terms.
ERP software is available to serve certain functions or industries as opened- or closed-sourced solutions. For businesses needing to reduce costs, the basic package can often be purchased and then modules added later to expand its features or add advanced capabilities. If the business needs a more customizable solution, it can find open-sourced software that allows access to its code. When purchasing software, the business should be aware that there may be yearly costs associated with its use or fees for upgrading each time a new version is available.
Businesses that use ERP hosting benefit from having their software safely functioning in an external location, getting their software running sooner and not needing someone in IT internally to maintain the system. Hosting for ERP products can significantly affect the business’s ROI and place it in a disadvantageous situation. It generally cost more to host ERP products externally because of the annual fees; in addition, the host owns the software, so changing hosts can be costly and the business is not in control of downtime. If the business is not able to handle the large upfront costs of self-hosting, then using an outside host may be the best short-term solution until financing is attainable.