For an international company, choosing the right IT systems isn’t easy. There are various factors to consider, and the complexity and impact these systems have on your organisation mean that the decision shouldn’t be rushed. This is something to bear in mind.
It’s a major challenge to balance costs, duration of implementation and functionality. An effective approach requires a detailed overview of the business processes you want to support, including clear priorities.
Ready to use
The right balance between costs and functionality often leads to an out-of-the-box solution. This is business software which is basically ready for use without requiring too much customising.
This software is often modular, which means that it can be expanded systematically. Standardised functionalities are rolled out in no time and can be fully integrated with one another, meaning you don’t have to contend with issues related to the ‘communication’ between separate solutions. With all information in a single system, you reduce the chance of errors and increase the effectiveness of reports, without needing external experts to collect and analyse data from various systems.
If you want to distinguish between suppliers, pay close attention to their capacity for connecting all your international locations. Consider the support they offer in the area of local legislation, multiple languages in the interface, support documents and how to handle source data for international banking or taxes.
Find a partner, not just a supplier
When choosing an ERP system, consider specific situations that could occur and research how your envisaged supplier will deal with them.
How do they research potential solutions? Do they brainstorm in collaboration with you, or only consider their own perspective? Are they present in the area where you do business, or do they have a local partner network? What happens if you need assistance? Who carries out implementation and follow-up? Is this done centrally or locally? Do you have a direct contact? Is that person able to make quick and effective decisions, or will you be constantly waiting for answers?
Think beyond transactions
Your organisation handles numerous processes including orders, invoices and payments in addition to transactions. Consider CRM, HR, document management, project support and service management.
Special systems for these activities generate data which can be useful for checking and integration with back office processes. This provides extra depth to any overview of your company, improved insight into customer activities, accurate monitoring of processes which aren’t related to transactions and more effective information exchange between all involved: customers, partners, suppliers and colleagues.
All locations in a single system
Strong interaction between data throughout the organisation provides control and insight that ultimately saves time and money. This is certainly the case when new foreign locations are added. It is essential that these are connected to the rest of the company because this helps minimise errors and delays.