Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are important tools for many businesses, making vendor selection a critical process for any firm preparing for an ERP implementation. There are plenty of service providers available throughout the market, which can present a challenge for first-time adopters as they try to find the best fit.

Works Management contributor Steve Winder recently highlighted the importance of a proper vendor and how such a company serves its clientele. Organizations should do their best to identify what problem areas they want to improve with an ERP deployment. This will help them make an informed decision on a service provider.

"Many ERP providers do not have deep vertical expertise and cannot fully comprehend your business from end to end. It is critical to get to the bottom of problem areas and help you find solutions and identify problems that you may not even have realized exist," Winder wrote.

One of the best ways to determine whether an ERP vendor is legitimate is to view its past relationships with clients. Winder explained that looking at whether previous companies received an ERP project that was on time and within budget is an effective way of avoiding mishaps with a future implementation.

Once an ERP solution is in place, the work does not end there. A lot of challenges can occur if businesses and vendors are not paying close attention. Winder noted that companies should determine whether potential service providers offer continued support. For organizations with multiple offices across different regions, a firm that includes 24/7 assistance in multiple languages is a valuable asset.

In the end, a successful ERP deployment is a long-term commitment and is determined by the relationship between the client and the service provider.

"The strength of the relationship – one that places you, the customer, at the center of the partnership – will significantly influence the success of your system and your ability to maximize efficiency and grow your business more confidently. Ensuring that your ERP selection goes beyond the feature function criteria will set you on the right path to a long and prosperous future," Winder concluded.

Can the software evolve?
Companies that adopt an ERP solution only to find that the software needs heavy customization will struggle mightily to achieve a return on their investment. That is why it is so important to not only choose the right vendor, but the best software as well. If a system cannot evolve over time, it will either need be customized or replaced entirely.

In an interview with Manufacturing Business Technology, Melissa Cook, senior director of an ERP vendor, encouraged organizations to ask vendors how their products will adapt to changes. Such foresight should not just include developments occurring today, but trends over time.

Companies that want a reputable vendor do not have to look very far. Infor solutions are some of the most effective on the market and the service provider has gained an impressive amount of clients over the years. More importantly, Infor does not serve just one or two industries, but a number of unique fields that rely on ERP software on a daily basis.

Infor not only offers on-site ERP deployments but cloud-based solutions as well. Firms that want a flexible architecture that can handle ever-changing industry demands may want to select a cloud platform to remain agile for years to come. Regardless of the type of implementation or the industry, Infor has the resources and expertise to help clients maximize their investment.