Tips For Choosing an ERP Vendor – Part 1 – Narrowing Down Your Options

If you’re in the market for an ERP solution in 2022, I expect Google Search has become an ‘old friend’!

What are the pro’s and con’s of various solutions? What solutions best suit your type of business? What are the current innovations in ERP that could transform your business?

Whatever questions you’re asking, your first task is to identify what ERP solutions best suit your business. To help you along the way, we’ve compiled Aspera & Epicor’s top tips for narrowing down your ERP potentials vendor list:

  1. Start with Analyst Research
  2. Learn from Peers / Competitors – especially those in similar industries
  3. Identify your individual companies needs

1) Analyst research

ERP industry analysts like Gartner, Forrester, IDC, etc.  provide a reliable and objective analysis of ERP vendors and products. They’re plugged into the current trends and future projections of the industry, and they can provide valuable insights and unbiased opinions that you won’t get from prospective vendors. They’re also trusted names within the ERP industry, and their data is often featured or cited in publications and other studies.

An example would be Gartner’s 2021 iteration of their annual report—“Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Midsize Enterprises”—in which they placed Epicor Software in the “Visionary” quadrant. This position is based on a full evaluation of Epicor’s global ERP solution—Kinetic. The Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP focuses on ERP systems that are offered in a cloud services application deployment. It covers midsize enterprises across all geographies with an annual revenue between approximately $50 million and $1 billion USD.

While it’s a smart move to take analyst opinions and data into account, relying solely on them may not yield the best choice in cloud ERP for your business. Say, for example, you’re looking for the best cloud ERP system for your discrete manufacturing business. Maybe you have one or two locations, but you don’t have the infrastructure in place to support some of the more robust software solutions used by large national or international companies. An industry study will likely not narrow its focus to something for your specific needs—they’ll likely evaluate all cloud ERP systems instead of just the cross-section of software that’s a good fit for your business. Analyst lists are great for thinning out the herd, but you shouldn’t stop your search there, thats why it’s important to investigate what your competitors / peers are using.

2) Learn from Peers / Competitors

Once you’ve looked at ERP analyst reports, it’s time to see what others in your industry are saying. Getting customer references from your peers is essential, because they can tell you what software they’re using and why they selected it, as well as give honest feedback on their experience. Speaking with users in your industry helps you learn the details of how existing or desired functionality might be handled or improved by the new system. Going back to our previous example, it’s important to reach out to other small-to-midsize discrete manufacturers to find out what they’re using. Find out what they like, what they don’t like, what works, and what doesn’t.

Seeking out analyst reports and peer recommendations will provide valuable perspectives, but when it comes to choosing the best cloud ERP system, your own organisational needs and growth objectives should ultimately guide your decision.

3) Understand Your Organisation’s Unique Criteria

Ultimately, the best cloud ERP system is the one that fits your business. You have to assess your business needs and define certain criteria that only exist for your organisation or line of work.

For example, manufacturers might require an integrated whiteboard-style production scheduling application that allows production planners to do their job within the ERP system, instead of settling for disconnected spreadsheets. 

Retailers might require a solution that offers them real-time visibility into their inventory and provides a mobile point of sale (POS) system.  It’s also paramount to choose retail management software that offers an eCommerce solution.

Distributors need to look for a software system that offers front counter functionality that can automatically enter customer order information—eliminating manual processes and rekeying errors. 

These are just a couple of examples, but the point remains the same—find a cloud ERP system that fits the way you do business. 

Gather representation from every aspect of the business that will be affected by the new solution. Together, note what works well within your organisation and what needs improvement. Make a list of requirements and determine whether or not these requirements are ‘need to have’ or ‘nice to have’ elements and use this to narrow down your vendor list.

Once you’ve identified your preferred vendor list, the next step is to assess their commonalities, advantages and disadvantages.  Aspera recommends pitching the same questions to each vendor so that it is easier to make comparisons & we’ll cover that in part 2 of this blog.

Contact Aspera Solutions for clarification / support.  

 

 

 

Please note that elements of this piece are attributable to Epicor  – How to Choose the Best Cloud ERP Software

Epicor Names Aspera Solutions International Partner of the Year 2021

Epicor award Aspera International Partner of the Year 2021

Dublin, Ireland

November 2nd 2021

EPICOR Names Aspera Solutions International Partner of the Year 2021

Epicor, a global leader of industry-specific enterprise software and innovator in ERP solutions for manufacturing and distribution, has named Aspera Solutions as International Partner of the Year 2021. 

“Despite Covid, Aspera has managed to deliver significant year-on-year growth, deliver sustainable year-on-year performances, and successfully align with Epicor’s mission to be “The Cloud Vendor of Choice in the markets that we serve”. Aspera is successfully delivering Digital Transformation solutions on our Kinetic and P21 Platforms, for both Manufacturing and Distribution customers, and is a deserving winner of the International Partner of the Year award”.

Paul Flannery, VP of International Channel Sales, Epicor Software

An Epicor Partner since 2001, Aspera Solutions drives profitability and growth through ERP knowledge leadership within manufacturing and distribution companies. The company has built its business around the Epicor platform, and to date has completed multi-site implementations in 14 countries, across 4 continents.    

Speaking on the award, Lonan Byrne, Managing Director of Aspera Solutions commented,

“For the second time in three years, Aspera is delighted to receive this award.  In recent times, we have adapted our methods of engagement to better serve the evolving needs of our marketplace. Challenged by Covid, we’ve found new ways to deliver value and solve customer problems, and our commitment to customer success continues to lead growth in both repeat and new logo business. All of this is made possible by the talent, innovation and drive of the Aspera team. I am very proud of what they continue to achieve”.

For more information, contact Aspera or visit our news and blog feature pages.

The Industry’s Most Powerful Cloud Platform for Distributors Gets Even Stronger with Latest Release of Epicor Prophet 21

October 29, 2021

Enterprise cloud and future-focused modular design help distributors stay ahead of changing supply chain landscape 

Epicor, a global leader of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, today announced the latest release of Epicor Prophet 21, the cloud-based industry productivity solution for distributors. The new release underscores the company’s continued commitment to build best-in-class Industry Cloud solutions that give distributors even more power to stay ahead of the ever-changing supply chain landscape.

Distributors have navigated an unprecedented set of challenges over the past 18 months including supply chain disruption and changing customer expectations for digital connectedness. The need for flexible, insights-driven industry productivity platforms has never been greater. According to the latest Epicor Industry Insights Report 2021, 92 percent of distributors believe that cloud would have helped them deal better with Covid-19, and 82 percent of all business leaders polled said Covid-19 had accelerated their cloud migration plans.

The latest release of Epicor Prophet 21 helps distributors address today’s challenges while optimising for the future through new cloud-based, industry-focused capabilities that help tackle complex supply chain needs and scale operations for the future.

Enterprise Cloud for Large Distributors

Epicor Prophet 21 offers a new Epicor Cloud Enterprise Services package for large distributors looking for greater control and flexibility to manage global operations on a scalable and more secure cloud platform. New enterprise cloud services include isolated cloud infrastructure for greater autonomy, customisable upgrade schedule, additional processing capacity, more database access, and dedicated premium support expertise.

Modular Design for Growth

The latest release not only delivers new cloud capabilities, it also provides a path for customer growth that can easily adapt to evolving needs. For example, the modular design enables components to be installed and scaled out independently, making it easy to personalise and configure the Epicor Prophet 21 solution. In addition, the user experience is more productive as the flow of information between the browser and server has been optimised, retrieving information faster and making it easier to manage data. This release also reinforces the company’s commitment to global customers with enhanced functionality around regulatory requirements and tax changes.

“Our latest release of Epicor Prophet 21 focuses on building cloud momentum, ensuring that both functionality and performance are at their peak as distributors embark on their digital transformation,” said Himanshu Palsule, Epicor President and CTO. “Whether it’s to drive efficiencies, find new ways to grow revenue or make better, more informed strategic decisions, Epicor Prophet 21 allows customers to focus on what they do best to run their businesses.”

For more information on Epicor Prophet 21 or to request a demo, please contact Aspera

Epicor/SecturaSoft to Deliver Estimating and Quoting Tool for Manufacturers

Epicor partners with SecturaSoft

The partnership will deliver SecturaFAB—an estimating and quoting tool for manufacturers—as a direct integration, providing a one-stop shop for existing and prospective Kinetic clients.

The automated estimating and quoting process allows operations managers to streamline multiple processes to help increase shop throughput and speed to quote with the ability to import PDF, 3D, and 2D CAD files; build quotes in seconds rather than days; decrease training time needed by 80%; and increase win rate by up to 40%, according to the company.

Features include nesting estimation, work order integration, 5-axis machining, and Kinetic material integration.

Contact Aspera Solutions for more information.

 

Epicor a Visionary in Gartner 2021 Magic Quadrant™

For the third consecutive year, the Gartner report recognises Epicor for its vision and execution

AUSTIN, Texas, August 27, 2021 – Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, has been named a Visionary in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises[i]  for the third consecutive year.  A complimentary copy of the report is available through Epicor here.

“We believe that placement in the Visionary quadrant reinforces our focus on building Kinetic with our customers, for our customers,” said Epicor President Himanshu Palsule. “Kinetic has the functionality necessary to run a modern, future-ready, manufacturing business looking to capitalise on data, transform digitally in the Cloud, and innovate without limits. The partnership with our customers is critical. And that’s why we prioritise customer touch-points and feedback that influence our product innovation.”

Epicor operates in 150 countries around the world with 20,000 customers utilising its expertise and solutions to improve performance and profitability for manufacturing, distribution, and retail.

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organisation and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

GARTNER and Magic Quadrant are registered trademarks and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and are used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

About Epicor Software Corporation

Epicor Software Corporation equips hard-working businesses with enterprise solutions that keep the world turning. For nearly 50 years, Epicor customers in the automotive, building supply, distribution, manufacturing, and retail industries have trusted Epicor to help them do business better. Epicor’s innovative solution sets are carefully curated to fit customer needs and built to respond flexibly to their fast-changing reality. With deep industry knowledge and experience, Epicor accelerates every customer’s ambitions, whether to grow and transform, or simply become more productive and effective. Visit www.epicor.com for more information.

Epicor Acquires KBMax a Technology Leader in the Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Market to Help Customers Sell Smarter

May 27, 2021

Epicor Acquires KBMax a Technology Leader in The Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Market to Help Customers Sell Smarter

News Summary:

  • The acquisition drives continued growth for Epicor with the ability to offer KBMax software as a stand-alone cloud first, low/no code toolset, or integrated into the Epicor productivity suite to generate new, cross-and-up sell potential.
  • Builds a bridge between Epicor’s customised ERP modules and the sales-to-order process, delivering better customer outcomes.
  • Opens up new international growth markets for Epicor across the United Kingdom, France, Benelux, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Germany.
  • Marks the latest in a series of strategic merger and acquisition efforts that cement Epicor’s ambitions to become the sole provider of mission critical business applications to customers in the key industries served.
  • KBMax customers will benefit by having access to greater technology solutions and services housed beneath the Epicor brand name, coupled with a seamless transition and assured continuity.

 

AUSTIN, Texas, May 27, 2021 –  Epicor, a global leader of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, announced today that it has acquired Configure Price Quote (CPQ) and visualisation software provider KBMax. The transaction closed on May 27. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

 

KBMax software solutions will be marketed under the Epicor brand as a stand-alone module within the company’s productivity suite, aligning seamlessly with Epicor’s deep expertise in the global manufacturing engineer-to-order space. The ability to offer customers a highly customisable, industry specific one-stop solution that connects the front and back of the house supports Epicor’s mission to differentiate itself from the fleet of one-size-fits all off-the-shelf ERP solutions.

 

“Our customers are the essential businesses who make, deliver and sell the things everyone needs. We knew we needed to move fast, to enable them to be able to stay digitally competitive and build out scalable digital commerce capabilities,” comments Steve Murphy, Epicor CEO. “It’s a perfect time for businesses to reach their customers in new and compelling ways. The integration of KBMax’s technology into our platform will solve that challenge for our customers, enabling them to create an information-rich and immersive online buying experience. The integration of next-gen CPQ tools with our ERP system will enable vital connectivity points to our customers across inventory, costs, pricing, and customer data.”

 

With complexity comes the need for real-time, reliable integration between systems, especially CPQ and ERP. Research shows that in 2020 80 percent of B2B buyer journeys took place online. Being able to configure a product in CPQ and instantly get 3D renderings and dimensioned drawings will dramatically reduce the time and cost it takes for our customers to respond to RFP’s, getting potential buyers the information they need to make a decision faster than ever before.

 

The integration of KBMax with Epicor’s ERP solutions will provide customers:

  • A seamless connection between sales and operation data improving demand planning and production.
  • A single source of truth for the most complex engineer-to-order projects delivering faster and more accurate sales quotes, fewer order mistakes and improved sales rep productivity.
  • Ability to navigate the escalating trend of self-service/online business by translating complex sales information into something easy to configure and visualize.
  • A centralized data hub that can be managed in a single application that delivers a full 360-degree view of a customer’s order /fulfilment status allowing the front and back of house teams to work from the same playbook.
  • Supported business continuity for existing KBMax customers.

 

KBMax has transformed the buying experience for over 20,000 users and its CPQ software has delivered customers measurable improvements, on average a 168 percent increase in annual sales revenues, 38 percent faster sales cycle and a 35 percent increase in productivity.

 

“Epicor truly understands the industries it serves and its deep expertise in critical verticals from manufacturing to distribution make it the ideal home in which our technologies can nest seamlessly, deliver immediate customer value while allowing us to scale and expand the technology suite,” said Kevin Bennett , KBMax CTO. “The integration of our software into the Epicor portfolio will help ensure the world’s most essential businesses can digitally evolve and thrive.”

Successfully Select ERP Software in 8 Simple Steps

8 Steps to Choosing your Ideal ERP Solution

Whether you are looking for your first Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or upgrading from an existing system, the ERP selection and implementation process is a long-term strategic decision that your business will live with for years to come. Naturally, you want to get it right!

To support you on your ERP journey, this short white paper outlines the 8 essential steps you’ll need to complete in order to choose a solution that fits your current and future business needs.

Additional questions? Get in touch.

Eight simple steps for a successful ERP system selection.

Step 1: Evaluation

Form an evaluation committee that includes representation from the key stakeholders impacted by the implementation. This committee should include top management, functional experts, and end-users from the different departments within your company. Consider hiring neutral, external consultants to assist in your evaluation. Throughout the selection process, end each step with a consensus of all members to gain enterprise-wide acceptance of the final ERP system.

Step 2: Assess Your Options

Assess your existing business processes and the scale of your operation, so you can determine what’s being done well. Identify the gaps or key challenges that can be solved with the help of an ERP system. Take a futuristic approach, determining what solution fits your current best practice and future requirements.

Step 3: Establish Criteria

Develop your selection criteria to evaluate the available solutions. Criteria can include features, price, platform, and anything else your committee deems important. Group the criteria according to importance to your business—i.e. very important, important, and less important. Assign a score to each to make the evaluation easier.

Here are some example criteria:

  • Industry expertise—How well does the ERP vendor understand your industry? Does the vendor offer industry best practices or pre-defined processes that are generalized or horizontally focused? ERP solutions should at the very least address the critical business requirements specific to your industry.
  • Total cost of ownership—Determine the long-term TCO for hardware, software, and support—both before and after implementation.
  • Multisite operations support—If you need to collaborate with multiple operations, then ensure your ERP vendor can support multi-site operations. Can your ERP vendor support all your locations?
  • Customer support—Does the ERP vendor have its own in-house Support Team, or does it outsource? You’ll gain the most out of your investment if you have access to a customer care center that can answer your key application and technical questions, solve your complex technical or software related issues, and advise on best industry practices.

Step 4: Schedule Consultations & Demonstrations

Arrange consultations with both a sales representative and product expert from as many different ERP vendors as possible. Discovery calls and demonstrations will provide you with better insight on the vendor and its solution than if you were to rely solely on brochures and sales literature.

Step 5: Create a Shortlist

Shortlist three to five ERP solutions that best meet your business needs. Your discovery calls will have helped you eliminate the solutions that are poor fits.

Step 6: Make Contact & Build Trust

Contact the vendors of your shortlisted ERP systems to arrange additional presentations and product demonstrations with key stakeholders. Identify whether the vendor is one with which you want to develop a long-term relationship.

Step 7: Prepare Questions that Address Your Concerns

How each vendor responds will help you determine the best fit for your company.

Step 8: Check Vendor References

Visit and consult companies where the ERP system has been implemented. Find out if the system is working as expected and what the company likes or dislikes. If there were issues, then determine how the vendor resolved them.

Conclusion

Your evaluation committee should now be able to select an ERP solution based on how well it met your selection criteria, how it performed during the demonstration, and how the references checked out.

Finally, with your selected ERP vendor, spend the time to scope the entire project from start to finish. Work with your ERP vendor to map your critical milestones and chart your course to success.

 

Epicor 2021 Industry Insights Report

What Technologies are Shaping the Success of Industry Leaders Like You?

Recently, Epicor surveyed 1,250 professionals around the world and asked what technologies are driving their company’s bottom line and growth opportunities. The results found overwhelming optimism for cloud capabilities, with 94% of the businesses surveyed declaring an interest in. cloud-based solutions over the next 12 months.

Why is Cloud gaining acceptance?

  1. Adaptability – providing the flexibility to keep technology ahead with built in scalability, simple integration, and easier compliance.
  2. Security – with improved security being the topmost recognised benefit of migration to the cloud.
  3. Future Proofing – with increased opportunities for more agility and resilience.
  4. Partnership – they key to successful cloud migration and implementation lies in working with a dedicated, experienced partner such as Aspera Solutions.

Reality V Myth

Myth: It’s difficult to migrate cloud into existing systems
Reality: 77% of those mostly on cloud say cloud is easy to integrate, with the right partner

Myth: It’s not as secure as an on-premises solution.
Reality: Almost 9 in 10 businesses believe data is safer in cloud-based solutions.

Myth: It’s not always flexible and may not meet business needs.
Reality: 93% of those mostly on cloud say it’s flexible enough to meet their business needs.

Myth: It can’t help my company comply with data regulations.
Reality: 86% of those mostly on cloud say cloud solutions help them adhere to government data regulations.

Find out how your strategy compares by downloading the full Epicor report.