ERP selection process - A 6-step guide for the real estate industry
Are you a real estate developer or a construction business owner looking to implement an ERP solution into your business? Then by this time, you would have realised that selecting an ERP system is a time-consuming and complicated process that requires accurate planning and research. You might have faced dilemmas or hit certain roadblocks during the ERP selection process as there are various ERP systems available on the market. In this 6-step ERP selection guide, we aim to provide you with detailed information on how to select the right ERP for your business.
1. Planning effectively
Initially, you need to create an effective plan which must clearly define the company goals and how implementing an ERP system can help you to achieve them. If you are implementing an ERP solution for the first time, it is essential to list out all the possible benefits of the ERP and how it can eliminate existing problems within the organisation. A few benefits of implementing an ERP system are:
- Simultaneous management of business processes
- Effective tracking of the data
- Automating manual processes etc.
The many benefits of ERP can certainly solve the majority of the problems within your organisation and speed up the process. But, implementing it is an expensive and time-consuming process that requires you to get the management and technical team on board. The best way to convince the decision-makers, investors and technical experts in your company to invest in an ERP system is to present them with a solid plan which includes the tangible and intangible benefits of ERP which can be measured in terms of ROI (Return On Investment).
Upon deciding the reasons to implement an ERP system, the next step would be to allocate a budget for the implementation of the software. The budget should be fixed based on few of the following factors:
- The number of users who are going to use the ERP
- Understanding ERP modules and features required
- Support and Annual Maintenance Costs (AMC)
- Training the employees
- Infrastructure cost (hardware and software)
2. Researching an industry-specific ERP
After deciding why you need to implement an ERP system into your organisation, the next step is to research an industry-specific ERP. Upon searching ‘best ERP solution’ on the search engine, you might have scrolled through a few popular names. There is no harm in going with an established ERP vendor who has been providing service for many years.
But, the question you need to ask yourself is, whether they can provide deeper insights and solutions that address the key problem areas of your industry. Thus, it is imperative to go with an industry-specific ERP vendor who understands the nooks and corners of the industry and can aid you with overcoming your everyday challenges in the company.
For instance, In4Suite® is an ERP software that is specifically designed for the real estate and construction industry. It aids real estate developers to overcome business challenges by automating repetitive tasks and tracking the data on a real-time basis. With In4Suite®, all the core business processes can be managed with a single click which helps the business owners to make quick and efficient decisions.
On LinkedIn, we conducted a poll asking whether industry professionals would select an industry-specific ERP or a generic ERP. 89% of the people voted that they will go for an industry-specific ERP.
3. Shortlisting and scheduling demos with the vendors
There are multiple well-known and small-time ERP vendors available on the market who offer ERP solutions for the real estate industry in varying price ranges. Before scheduling demos with the vendors, you need to shortlist them based on these factors:
Service provided by the vendor
A perfect bug-free product doesn’t exist. Good ERP vendors are aware of that and they must be able to provide undeniable support for their clients in terms of technical assistance. Vendors should also provide online portals and mobile apps to easily track the tickets raised by the clients and clear the high-priority tickets instantly. A well-defined SLA (Service Level Agreement) must be provided by the vendor which mentions particular aspects of the service i.e quality and availability.
Technical features of the product
Good software service providers need to constantly come up with innovative and ingenious ways to solve business problems. They must hire new talents to roll out advanced product features and upgrades according to the current technological trend. As a client, it is your responsibility to go with such vendors who will provide simple and reliable technological solutions to operate your business processes successfully.
Scalability of the product
The ERP must be compatible with multiple users. As your customer base increases, the number of users might increase. A good scalable ERP will allow companies to seamlessly integrate the business processes irrespective of the number of users.
After shortlisting the vendors, you need to schedule demos with them. A demo provides you with an overview of the product and its functionalities. Before scheduling the demo, request your vendor to present a personalised demonstration of the product and how it can specifically address your company needs rather than a standardised sales demo. In the demo, try to involve all the decision makers of your company, especially the IT head, so that everyone is on the same page.
4. Talking to the peers and references
Communicating with peers is one of the important steps while selecting an ERP system. You must ensure to speak with the companies who are using an ERP system for a while, preferably those of the same industry, size and facing problems similar to yours.
Observe your peer company’s revenue, the efficiency in their process, customer complaints etc. before and after the implementation of an ERP system. Also, enquire about the technical support and the quality training offered by their ERP vendor. Acquiring direct information from your peers from the same industry makes the ERP selection process easier.
5. Deciding the right ERP solution (cloud or on-premise ERP)
Let’s first understand the basic difference between cloud and on-premise ERP. Then we shall discuss the pros and cons of both models and let you make the right decision.
Cloud ERP runs on the vendor’s data centre while on-premise ERP runs on the purchasing company’s server. Cloud ERP usually works better for small companies with 10-15 users for 3 years or less and it can be purchased in annual or monthly subscription. On the other hand, on-premise ERP is suitable for enterprises with several users.
Cloud ERP v/s on-premise ERP
The image below shows the total costs of ownership (TCO) over 10 years for both cloud-based and on-premise software. As observed from the graph, TCO of both models converges over time.
6. Finalising, negotiating and implementing the ERP
The last stage of the ERP selection process is to finalise the right software and negotiate with the vendor. If you find an industry-specific ERP model that meets all your business requirements but the cost is exceeding your budget then you would be in a pickle. The ERP vendor must set realistic expectations and fix the project cost according to that.
If you are unable to come up with good negotiation strategies or check whether the final cost is justified, an independent ERP consultant can be hired. ERP consultants can analyse the vendor’s statement of work and check whether the cost is justified.
They can also come up with negotiation strategies and help you rule out the less important terms. Once you have finalised and negotiated the right ERP model with your vendor, the implementation process will commence. This usually takes about six months to one year depending upon the number of users, personalisation features, modules etc.
Ultimately, the decision lies in your hand to select the right ERP model by understanding the value it brings to the organisation. However, you must ensure to not compromise on the quality of the product, training and support provided by the vendor to cut down the expenditure. An investment in ERP ensures high ROI and also helps you to save money in the later stage.
If you are a real estate developer or a construction business owner looking for an ERP solution then get in touch with our team for a demo.
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