There has been an ongoing debate for many years now about the best type of ERP solution for your business.
Many years ago it concentrated on the difference between comprehensive systems vs best of breed solutions. Here the idea of a solution that has best practice in a specific area of functionality combined with other systems concentrating in other processes could, when integrated together provide a better solution than the comprehensive system. The basic trade-off was between streamlined functionality against the inefficiency of integrating multiple systems together.
Now the debate has moved on as the comprehensive solutions have realised that different industries have unique requirements and so they then produced variations via some form of parameterisation that allows them to claim that their system is optimised for a specific industry.
However, from experience, especially with small to medium sized enterprises it is clear to us at Medatech UK that this is not enough. The distinction between businesses due to being in a specific industry goes further than that. Each business within an industry also works differently to each other.
If you think about it, this is where the whole idea of competitive advantage comes into play. For instance, a business in the automotive industry competes with other businesses in the automotive industry. They do not (normally) directly compete with businesses in, say, the medical devices industry. This is where the real requirements for process efficiency come.
Don’t get me wrong, the need for efficiency because you have specific industry requirements is very important. But this is the first level of improvement you can get from your ERP solution. It doesn’t stop there.
There is a deeper level of efficiency that is all to do with the way your specific business works. It will be different to the way your competitors in your industry work. This is where the greatest benefits lie.
To be truly the best amongst your peers, you need an ERP solution that not only serves your industry well with specific functionality, but it must also have the ability to allow you to be unique in your business processes from your competitors. And, importantly it must do it in a secure and robust manner that allows standard upgrading without additional work.
This is the Holy Grail for your business process efficiency. If you stick with just industry-specific functionality, you are only half as good as you could be.
The way to find out what is best for your business is to compare the offerings against your requirements and one of the best places to start that journey is at an IT Showcase. See you there.