Software Selection

Accounting Software – Business Management Software – ERP Software:
What do these terms really mean? Is it all the same thing?

All of these terms are used by the software publishers to say about the same thing. What they are talking about is the software that you use to run your business – manage your incoming and outgoing cash; track inventory; report on the financial health of your business. You will also see terms like CRM or sales force automation mixed in as well – and this is simply talking about the software you use to manage the customer and vendor relationships that surround your business.

Software Selection:
Some things to think about:

The software you choose to run your business with will be with your company for years to come, so it is best to make sure you do it “right” and enter into a partnership with companies who are going to assist you beyond the sales cycle. These companies include the software publisher (You want to make sure they are going to be in business for many years to come); the reseller/consultant that will actually sell you the software and work with you in the installation, implementation, and training; and the technology services firm(s) that you work with to set up the network and hardware platform that the software will run on.

In today’s market, most companies decide to go with a well established software publisher that has a general set of business management functionality to serve as the foundation for their business. They then adapt, create or purchase enhancements or modules in the event the functionality is not there for their specific or unique needs.

Custom software developers or programmers can’t match the overall product stability, depth of experience, knowledge and functionality that off-the-shelf software from well established publishers contains. This is especially true when it comes to financials, CRM, sales and purchase order processing, as well as inventory control and material planning. Where custom software development adds considerable value is in functional areas like complex quoting, job costing, quality control and other highly industry-specific needs.

No off-the shelf software package will solve every business need in every department, but the best fit for your business will provide “best practices” that make common processes easier and will allow the customer that is using the software to adapt it to their more specific needs in a manner that allow it to continue to be updated as technology, industry standards and government regulation require.



What companies should look for in choosing new Business Management Software:
We feel there are four key factors in being successful in choosing new business software:

1. Strength of software publisher: Financial stability, resources to invest in R&D, national and international presence, expertise in your industry.
2. Knowledge, credibility, and proximity of the provider of professional services.
3. Base fit of the functionality of the software out of the box, as well as the ability enhance it using industry standard tools, excellent reporting tools and the ability of the software to integrate to other systems.
4. Joining an ecosystem of successful organizations. Being members of a large user group community has its advantages:
Ø Allows users to discuss how others are using the software
Ø Provides a strong voice back to the software publisher
Ø Makes filling open employment positions easier
Ø Provides overall new business opportunities

What companies should look for in choosing consultants to implement their Business Management Software:
The following are the primary reasons companies choose consultants to implement and support their systems:

1. Knowledge and expertise with the specific software, hardware, network and/or industry and their ability to adapt software best practices to your business (ultimately saving you money).
2. The consulting organizations proven ability to stay abreast to the latest in technology in regards to their expertise; through certifications, memberships and participation in industry related events.
3. The Accessibility and organizational response time, including support during non-business hours during the week and weekends.
4. The consulting organization’s ability to backup or augment internal staff as needed (including the ability of the organization to provide back up to the primary consultant on your project).
5. Proven ability to deliver projects on time and at the costs estimated (many times consulting organizations may offer a low price to get a job, and then extend the bid exponentially to finish it).