We’ve outlined countless times how a custom ERP or a Zoho ERP can help your organization thrive. Whether you work in manufacturing, healthcare, or retail, an ERP can automate your manual processes, improve data integrity, and make collaboration across departments a breeze. However, making the switch to an ERP system should not be taken lightly. This new system will impact your strategic planning for the next 10 years or more.
You’ll undoubtedly face challenges ahead; any organization does when undergoing such a major change. But, if you’re aware of the challenges of ERP data integration and development beforehand, you’ll be better prepared for a successful project.
Deciding on a Strategy
Deciding on a strategy for your ERP data integration is the most important, most costly, and most challenging part of your project. An application can take anywhere from three to five years to develop, so understanding your goals beforehand will ensure that there are fewer changes that will impact your budget and timeline.
First, what do you want your ERP to do? What departments do you want to connect to? What applications do you want integrated? Pay attention to the age of those applications, the way data is standardized, and how data is shared. Data should be consistent, applications should be updated, and all stakeholders should have a say in how they’ll use this ERP.
Once you have a list of goals, current features, and “wishlist” items, consider whether you would like to build a custom ERP or use an out-of-the-box ERP, like Zoho. There are pros and cons to both. With a custom ERP, you get the flexibility your organization needs as it grows, but at a higher price point. With a Zoho ERP, you have a more affordable product, but not all the customization you may want.
Research your potential vendors. If you work in manufacturing, go with a vendor that has considerable experience in your industry. Look at other organizations they’ve worked with and ask for references. You want a partner who truly understands how your business and industry operate.
Maintaining Your System
The next challenge is maintaining your system. An ERP should grow with your organization and its goals. It’s understood that new features will be needed as time goes on, but your system must be flexible enough to support these changes.
Data needs to be formatted consistently for more accurate reporting. Meanwhile, modules need to be updated regularly. A CRM module that is 5 years old will not work well with a brand-new sales module.
Whether you’re working with a custom development vendor or purchasing out-of-the-box modules, make sure you purchase modules that work together. Oftentimes, businesses make the mistake of purchasing modules from different developers or vendors due to price or availability, which leads to inconsistency across their data.
Using Your System
Finally, the biggest challenge simply comes down to reducing human error. Your ERP is only as good as those who use it. Find ways to combat resistance and encourage mind-shift among employees. Change is hard for any organization, and unveiling a new ERP all at once can be overwhelming for all involved. Make sure you invest time in capturing buy-in, seek out employee feedback, and create training collateral for current and future employees.
The time and effort you spent building your custom ERP rests on how successfully your employees embrace it. If they don’t know what’s available, they’re missing out on valuable features. This means your manual workload isn’t decreasing and the resources you spent on automation are being wasted.
Overcoming the Challenges of ERP Data Integration
With so many challenges, what is the best way to ensure your ERP is fit for your budget, timeline, and goals? How can you be sure that it has the features, functionality, and flexibility your organization needs to last five, 10, or even 15 years?
We recommend not moving forward with ERP development alone. Business consultants and developers like our team at KDG can help you strategize, develop, maintain, and effectively use your ERP. We specialize in both custom software development and Zoho ERP development, so you’ll always have a choice. They take the time to not only learn about your business but understand it through detailed stakeholder interviews, observations, and analysis. Each element of your integration is blueprinted before any code is put to paper, so you have a project roadmap you can be confident in.
If you’re interested in ERP development, contact our team today to learn more about the ways we can help you overcome the challenges of ERP data integration and build a platform that will withstand the test of time.