Friday, May 20, 2016

Are you a snowflake?

Much like a snowflake, No two companies are alike, and their ERP systems shouldn't be either. 

Why your software needs to be unique..

Manufacturing and distribution, in particular, have unique, and uniquely complex, processes and workflows that require functionality a vanilla ERP application can't provide. These types of companies require an ERP application that's designed for their industry, with industry-specific workflows, forms and data formats, in addition to user-friendly tools for customization. While many ERP vendors suggest that it's best to conform to the ERP application's practices, and in truth business practices do make sense when they work for you, however more often than not the the ERP software should be adaptable to the customer.

So yes we make the point and we sell the software but what are the important points when you look at your software vendor. 
1. The vendor's customer list. Does it already have customers in that industry, and do they say good things about the software? It's easy for a business to claim vertical industry experience on a “nice-looking” website, but do they have actual reference customers to prove it? Do they have other customers in your Buying Group? or Industry Affiliations? 
2. Is the vendor recognized as a leader in the industry? Leading vendors in an industry inevitably get covered in the trade media, invited to speak at conferences and asked to sponsor trade shows. Its executives typically author blog posts on industry topics (ok shameless plug here) . Do they rank the vendor in specific vertical industries?
3.Is the Software offering flexible? Do they a cloud-based model? Serious customization work on an on-premise, legacy ERP platform is often painfully difficult and time consuming.  Such ERP applications weren't built for a web-based world or to be intensely customized, meaning that it may take months of work and a large financial outlay for consultants. ERP applications built for the cloud, however, have the open web standards and visual tools to make customization easier.
4. Does it offer Integration options?  ERP vendors show their interest in a vertical industry by fostering third-party development communities to attract a large mix of useful add-on applications, widgets, templates, workflow tools and integrations to extend the core functionality. Examples might be simple UPS or Fedex integration or more industry specific integration such as FDA Drug Information.

Ok, so some people don't agree with the snowflake analogy so in all fairness, here is the point/counterpoint - Apparently snowflakes are not that unique.. "Sometimes the internet ruins all your fun..." 

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