Custom Programming for ERP: How to Prioritize - Tuesday Tip

Posted by Kimberly Tucker on Tue, Jun 09, 2015 @ 08:12 AM

 ERP Custom Programming, ERP, Customization, Programming

There is a point in every ERP talk when the subject of customization takes the floor.  At Klear Systems we believe that most of the ERP solutions we represent are well equipped for most tasks but that at least a small portion of customization is necessary for every business and we are glad to be of service.  But what criteria should be used to focus and prioritize the best value for the project?

Custom programming for ERP is a delicate balancing act
involving cost, quality, benefit, and ROI.

Our team has the experience and skills needed to help plan, prioritize, implement, and maintain a solution that meets your specific needs but for time's sake we can offer the objective framework for prioritizing customization developed by the leading business consultant and author Geoffrey Moore.

In his book ‘Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution’ Moore outlines business concepts he calls 'core' and 'context' as a way to prioritize growth strategies which is really the end goal of ERP customization.

All businesses have core and context parts:

  • Core business processes refers to any activity that creates sustainable differentiation. 
  • Context business processes is any activity that does not create differentiation.  

Core processes tend to involve what customers value, but this does not mean context should be ignored. Failure involving a context process may contravene a regulation or alienate a customer, however you don't show value to customers when performing a context task.

As a general rule, ERP customizations should be prioritized to create value through competitive advantage for your business, resulting in increased productivity and future success.

Once the core of the business has been identified, our team at Klear Systems will give you a range of options for customization. From changes that can be made by ordinary users - what we call personalization - to more sophisticated modifications that an administrator or skilled user can do - also known as customization.

It's important to keep in mind that core becomes context over time. Therefore once core has been identified and customization is implemented, a business thrives and therefore the process must be repeated to look for new core for further improvement.  For this reason a business needs to keep re-visiting the customizations to insure each still delivers differentiating value and the ERP system doesn't fall into disrepair.  Therefore, as a result, updating customization is not simply a strategy, it is a requirement.

Klear Systems can help.

As a Sage 100 ERP Master Development Partner, Klear Systems designs and deploys customizations and enhancements that meet expectations and business needs. To determine a custom programming project we first roughly define your needs, determine if we can reasonably meet those needs, and then develop a more detailed specification of work.

Once we have the specification, we’ll put together a detailed estimate with time and cost information. We would be happy to conduct a business process review consultation to help define your needs and get the ball rolling on customizing your ERP.

 

For more information on custom programming, 
Please CONTACT US today! 

 

Tags: Enterprise Resource Planning, Sage Software, Small Business, Helpful Tips, Custom Development

ERP Consultants + Your Business: How to Find the Perfect Match

Posted by Kimberly Tucker on Wed, Nov 05, 2014 @ 12:52 PM

ERP Consultant ERP Reseller Perfect Match

An ERP consultant is such an integral part of the ERP experience that you simply cannot afford to make a mistake when choosing one. The average business doesn't have the resources or expertise to devote to analyzing, purchasing, installing, and maintaining a ERP system and so the search for the consultant is almost as important as the search for the ERP itself.

These 6 steps will help make the most of your ERP consultant search:


1.  Conduct an interview.
Whether you find a consultant via word-of-mouth, an industry meeting, or web search, once you connect with a potential consultant arrange a phone call between the reseller and your team. The key objectives of the meeting should be to establish needs, what software applications the reseller can provide to meet those needs, and how they can help you benefit from that software.

2.  Ask for references.
Has the consultant installed ERP software at businesses similar to yours? If so, ask about company size, number of employees, and nature of the business. Ask for contact names and phone numbers, then call to learn as much as possible about the customers’ working relationship with the reseller. A great reseller will be happy to provide such a list.

3.  Listening skills are as important as software skills.
If the consultant doesn’t listen effectively, chances are you won’t be satisfied with the final outcome. Take notice if the consultant seems more interested in pushing product instead of analyzing your needs and meeting them. Avoid people who try to impress you with jargon and who immediately start talking about features of equipment and programs without .

4.  Find a consultant who fits with your team.
Before the search for a consultant begins, you should establish what type of personality and background will fit well with your team. Choose a consultant who comfortably fits your company’s philosophy and culture.  In your search for the perfect software fit, it is important to stick to specific guidelines that are determined by the “cultural fit” of your company and how your company operates as well. 

5.  Don’t sit through product demos that don't fit your business needs.
It’s easy to get caught up in bells and whistles of a software and forget about your objectives and the must-have list. Come to each demo armed with your company's list of requirements and control the process by asking to see certain features specific to your needs. It’s your demo—have the consultant present features in the order of your choosing, not his. This gives you the ability to ensure that the features you need from each software are consistently presented for your review.

6. Require cost forecast revisions.
Obviously, you’ll need your consultant to forecast the cost of implementation as accurately as possible. A great consultant should be able to provide a detailed breakdown of costs and fees before and during the requirements phase. As objectives change, make sure to request revised cost estimates so everyone is on the same page.

The Klear Systems consultants have been through the purchasing and implementation process countless times through the years and they continue to maintain a large base of happy, well-serviced customers.  We would love to save you significant time and money by helping you evaluate, select, and get the most out of your ERP system.

 

For more information on ERP Software,
please contact us today!

I Want to Learn More!

 

Tags: Acumatica Cloud-Based Solutions, Enterprise Resource Planning, Sage Software, Small Business, Custom Development

4 ERP Integrations for Better Business Management

Posted by Kimberly Tucker on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 @ 12:21 PM

ERP CRM Customer Portal Business Management Tools

ERP software is designed to streamline all aspects of a company’s operations from inventory and accounting to warehouse management, order entry/processing and everything in-between.

Streamlining all aspects allows organizations to process and ship more orders with fewer people, achieving the ultimate goal of any business: increasing sales while reducing costs.

While efficiency is a worthy goal, it takes more than that to grow sales.  Growing involves managing customer relationships and keeping customers happy.

The customer is the bread and butter of a company and proper ERP software can provide you with tools to better engage your customers while making their lives easier as well.

 

CRM

An ERP system with an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) component allows you to keep track of all of your vendor, prospect and customer information in one central database.

A strong CRM system, such as SugarCRM, lets you input customer data, log field changes and sales rep information, set follow-up dates, maintain a record of verbal and email communication, specify primary contact information and link to any outstanding invoices or quotes.

Using a CRM will help your company stay organized and keep customers satisfied, ensuring that any information about customers and prospects is easily accessible with action items clearly displayed.

Customer Portal

A customer portal or online ordering system provides a place for customers to place orders online, view their order history, browse available inventory information in real time and see specific pricing. With this feature, customers receive login information for a back-end website that essentially acts as a restricted eCommerce platform.

Customers are able to access their accounts and place orders without intervention from sales reps at the company, saving time and giving the customer more control. The website is integrated with the ERP system, so inventory will always be up-to-date, and order details accurate.

This also means once an order is placed online, the inventory is allocated in the back end and sales order created. Particularly in B2B markets, companies often have repeat clients, so a feature like this is very useful – customers can login to reorder product or place new orders.

EDI Integration

If you are distributing to large companies or retail chains, they often require EDI functionality to do business. An ERP system that allows for EDI-ERP integration, ensures that information is being sent and received in the correct format to maintain specific standards.

This eliminates the need for double entry and reduces the amount of errors from manual entry. Strong integration and meeting EDI standards will first and foremost keep your large clients happy, but it will also provide a number of other benefits for your organization internally.

Automated Reports & Email Notifications

A proper ERP system will allow you to send customized reports and email notifications to customers. This includes quotes and invoices, as well as tracking information if they order product that needs to be shipped. Customers can also be sent statements at specified time intervals (every week, month, quarter etc.), listing their order history, as well as any outstanding balances.

Strong ERP systems have the ability to pull information from different areas of the software to customize virtually any report your customer may want. The examples mentioned are just a start – you should work with your ERP provider and your customers to determine what reports customers might need and how they can be created in the system.

 

As demonstrated above, fully integrated ERP systems help companies better manage inventory and accounting as well as streamline the order taking, order entry, and order fulfillment process.  In addition to these internal benefits, integrating your ERP system with these tools that simplify the order process for customers and allows employees to easily view and enter customer data will help maintain strong relationships and keep customers happy.

 

For more information on integrations,
please contact us today!

 

I Want to Learn More!

 

Tags: Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Sage Software, EDI, Custom Development