6 Signs It's Time to Switch ERP Software Providers

Switching ERP software providers is no small matter. You may, however, be resistant to change due to financial constraints, the time implementation and training may take, or what a new system could mean for your operations.

The reality is, if you’re failing to meet customer needs and noticing process inefficiencies, waiting to switch could hurt your business in the long run. How do you know when you’ve reached the point where making a change is worth it? Let’s take a look at six signs it’s time to switch ERP software providers.

1. Provider Support is Lacking

When someone in your company needs support from your ERP provider, more often than not, they need it right away. In the best scenario, your provider will offer dedicated customer support available through email, phone, or chat. A lot of vendors promise this, but not all deliver. Whether it’s a time zone issue, or your vendor’s hours of availability are limited, if it becomes increasingly difficult to get same-day help, you might consider other options.

It’s not too much to expect that when you have a critical issue, someone is there to assist. Delayed or incompetent support can prolong critical outages, lead to product delivery delays, and disappoint your customers. Remember: you’re paying for a functioning system.

2. Vendor is Growing Too Quickly

Perhaps when you first signed on with your vendor, their size and pricing matched up nicely with your operational model. They were able to make you a high priority and even provide onsite assistance when necessary.

If they’ve grown to the point where they’re unable to prioritize your needs, you’ll lose a lot of that dedicated attention, and the platform itself may evolve into something that no longer matches your own workflows or fits your budget. Additionally, if key team members who support your business continue to move on and leave, you’re losing those people who are knowledgeable about your business, and spending too much time teaching new vendor contacts about who you are.

3. Your Business is Growing Too Quickly

Conversely, perhaps your company is scaling up — adding new products, markets, or departments — and the smaller vendor you chose a year ago can’t keep pace. Maybe they don’t offer the features or analytics you need to manage an expanded supply chain or complex resource allocation.

Some vendors try to convince customers that they accommodate “any size business,” but in all reality, most ERP solutions are better suited toward one end of the spectrum or the other, either large enterprises or SMBs. If your gut tells you it’s time to find a vendor better suited to handle your operating model, start comparing other solutions.

4. Lack of Industry Knowledge

A helpful vendor does more than work out bugs and make sure their system runs runs smoothly; they should also offer basic consulting services (formal or informal) to make sure you’re receiving the right upgrades and integrations based on your industry, because they already know your industry.

If you’re vendor doesn’t have any direct knowledge of your industry, and if this is impacting the quality of service you receive, you may want to consider looking elsewhere.

5. Guidance Becomes Sales

Cross-selling and upselling definitely have their place in a vendor/customer relationship. Most companies want to be aware of new products and services that will improve their processes and ultimately help them serve clients better. But there’s a difference between trying to add value and trying to squeeze more money out of a long-time customer.

You’ll know when this has become a problem if each time you or your employees contact your ERP vendor looking for guidance or assistance, those inquiries turn into a sales pitch. This is when your relationship loses its mutually beneficial partnership and becomes exploitative.

6. Declining User Experience

Do your employees work around your ERP software, eliminating steps, or manually creating processes, because it’s easier than using the system itself? Sure, there will always be a learning curve for certain advanced ERP functions, but the system should be easy to learn and use for the employees and managers who use it most. Integrations should be simple. Workflows should match your own. Load times should be short.

If you’ve noticed a steady decline in user experience as your current solution ages, and your vendor has no solutions, updates, or new integrations planned, it may be time for a change. An ERP system supports so many different aspects of your business, you can’t afford to use something outdated and inconvenient.

If it’s time to switch ERP software providers, you’ll likely notice more than one of these signs. Your provider should be dedicated to supporting your business needs, providing reliable support, and maintaining a cutting-edge platform. If they aren’t, every minute you waste is productivity lost and customers underserved. Now may be the time to consider a change.  

[ Published: June 5, 2017 ]