Playbook: Your complete guide to purchasing an enterprise resource planning platform

Learn how your organization can benefit from an ERP.

Playbook: Your complete guide to purchasing an enterprise resource planning platform

Learn how your organization can benefit from an ERP.

You need to be agile to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving business environment. Whether you need to swiftly adapt to shifting market forces or make informed business decisions as your business grows, it all begins with 360-degree organizational insight.

Here’s where an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform can prove invaluable: These digital platform tools help you see a more holistic picture of your organization and how all the corners connect. For most organizations, adopting an ERP leads to better performance through process integration and profit optimization.

Learn how COVID-19 has accelerated the need for and adoption of ERP systems:
Second-wave fears are driving businesses to adopt cloud ERP platforms

An ERP may be for you if...

Limited Visibility

You’re struggling to make decisions due to poor visibility into financial or operational metrics

No real time metrics

You lack access to real time metrics, dashboards, or key performance indicators

Manual processes

Excessive manual processes are slowing you down

Struggle with disparate applications

Inefficiencies result from multiple systems and no real digital strategy

Compliance issues

You’re drowning in compliance issues because there isn’t a single organizational source of truth

Scaling challenges

You’re having trouble scaling operations due to a lack of clear, enterprise-wide information

What is an ERP?

An ERP is a digital platform that helps you plan, manage, and make real-time adjustments to your organization’s myriad inputs and outputs via a single, interface. ERPs offer the functionality you need to eliminate silos and empower various departments to communicate more effectively, spend and earn more efficiently, and make more rapid and better-informed decisions.

In other words, they are the foundation of a streamlined and fully integrated operation.

Cloud-based ERPs are the norm to meet the needs of an evolving, decentralized, and increasingly mobile workplace. The cloud offers virtual access to enterprise information — including the ability track shipments, identify delays, and introduce solutions in real-time. Whether you want to create and share documents, track and analyze statistics, manage products and inventory, or deploy human capital, you can action these through centralized financial and operational management functionality.

Why should you consider a cloud-based ERP?

Increased investment from leading technology vendors and virtual access are two key reasons companies opt for a cloud-based ERP. Ease of updating is another. Most legacy (i.e., on-premises) applications don’t come with expiration dates and it’s often difficult to pinpoint precisely when they’ve stopped serving a business’s needs.

Conversely, cloud-based platforms only get better with time. Platforms release regular releases and update automatically and offer best of breed capabilities to deliver precisely what a company needs as it scales and grows.

How does an ERP enhance organizational performance?

Sustainable growth requires agility, productivity, and operational efficiency. A digital platform that supports enterprise resource planning and digital collaboration won’t just sharpen innovation, performance, and customer service — but also your competitive edge.

ERPs are designed to consolidate your organization’s financial data and its complex web of information and moving parts. Below is just a small snapshot of how these platforms can help you enhance operational performance, no matter your industry or sector:

Financial Management

Gain unparalleled visibility into the organization’s finances from anywhere, on any device.

  • Manage invoices and payments to vendors
  • Monitor revenue streams and analyze trends
  • Review and adjust budgets
  • Generate reports and financial forecasts
  • Share critical financial data across teams and lines of business
element-02

Human resources management

Fill knowledge gaps and keep everyone on the same page whether team members are working from home, in the office, or on location.

  • Monitor employee performance and identify areas for improvement
  • Make data-informed hiring, termination, and compensation decisions
  • Automate payroll, tax filing, expense tracking, and relevant deductions
  • Log communications to facilitate conflict resolution
  • Deliver self-service training to improve employee skills
  • Manage scheduling and provide visibility into team member availability
element-03

Sales management

Enhance your ability to generate revenue and build on existing revenue streams.

  • Seamlessly connect with prospects and customers
  • Stay in contact with prospects and customers throughout the sales cycle
  • Integrate other organizational services, such as payroll and scheduling, quoting and confirmations
  • Track financial setbacks
  • Compare sales performance to historical data
element-04

Procurement

Make sure you have the supplies you need when you need them, at the lowest possible price.

  • Improve cycle times and turnover rates
  • Minimize overstock and backorders
  • Manage materials / components orders from multiple vendors
  • Monitor fluctuating costs, budgeting, accounting, and price changes
  • Identify errors / lags in problematic production areas
  • Automate inventory restocking
element-05

Supply chain and inventory management

Get full transparency into your supply chain so you can get product to market faster.

  • Optimize delivery times to minimize costs and maximize productivity
  • Analyze each step in the supply chain in real time to identify bottlenecks and efficiencies
  • Track and project your supply chain and accounting spend
  • Gain a 360-degree view of your entire operation

Service fleet management

Manage everyday processes and seamlessly coordinate field and office teams.

  • Efficiently route crews, equipment, and service
  • Track work orders, issue invoices, and confirm customer signoffs
  • Centralize quotes, inspections, and deliveries
  • Monitor inventory
  • Collect payments and manage financial transactions
  • Troubleshoot and address unforeseen challenges

How does an ERP enhance profitability?

Spend less. Earn more. ERPs offer enhancements on both sides of the balance sheet by streamlining processes, improving communication, and helping you make timelier and better-informed decisions.

Predictive and planning tools

Eliminate waste and make the most of your resources on hand. ERPs help you understand what the organization needs, when it will need it, and how demand ebbs and flows over time.

Better communication and coordination

Prevent errors and costly re-work. A single source of truth provides better visibility into processes in real time for everyone in the organization.

  • Break down barriers and miscommunications created through information silos
  • Gain more visibility into project timing, costs, resources, and materials
  • Share information more quickly and keep everyone up to date on processes, opportunities, and challenges
  • Improve employee satisfaction, customer communication, and shareholder value

Adapt quickly to opportunities and headwinds

Perform a range of scenario analyses to monitor, optimize, and uncover revenue streams and quantify the best path forward for the organization.

  • Seamlessly track payroll, operating expenses, and income streams
  • Quickly create and share reports with key individuals and governing bodies
  • Provide detailed projections based on historical data
  • Monitor economic reconciliation programs and manage capital, equity, and stakeholder investments
  • Audit existing programs and budgets, and address the impacts of industry-specific vulnerabilities

Spend more time on tasks that are driving revenue

Offloading the bulk of administrative work to an ERP allows teams to spend more time on actions and activities that are driving the bottom line.

Improve data security and reduce downtime

Leading cloud service providers often offer better resilience and reliability with less exposure to cyber breaches or unforeseen disasters (e.g., power outage, weather events) — which translate to long-term financial gain.

Invest in technology that grows with the business

Cloud ERPs update automatically and always provide the organization with the latest available version. Organizations can save hundreds of thousands by avoiding the need to upgrade incompatible hardware and software every several years.

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Financial management

The finance function is increasingly responsible for new digital initiatives that support growth, improve performance, and enhance organizations’ ability to connect with customers and other stakeholders. However, these initiatives often fail to automate manual tasks and connect data sources in critical systems — resulting in data being underused and/or unsupportive of the business’s financial health.

The right ERP can provide comprehensive, flexible digital finance support, by consolidating financial planning and analysis (FP&A) supporting collaboration across lines of business and making it easier to focus on high-value work.

What Is FP&A?

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is a set of financial activities that are critical to a company’s health. It includes integrated financial planning, forecasting and modeling, performance and management reporting, and budgeting.

Cloud accounting vs. Cloud ERP: What’s the difference?

The line between cloud accounting and ERP solutions is rapidly blurring. Many options can seem like interchangeable platforms, but there are still distinct differences between the two. Consider the following to determine which one is right for your business.

Cloud Accounting vs Cloud ERP

Cloud accounting and bookkeeping solutions like MNP’s ease service offer core functionality that support everything from accounts reconciliation to payroll management and real-time reporting.

ERPs offer a more robust solution for companies experiencing significant financial growth and development — especially those looking to standardize, acquire (or divest) of entities. These platforms provide all the core financial functionality of cloud accounting solutions but take things a step further, with more robust financial and operational capabilities, from multi-entity management to operational modules such as inventory management, warehousing and other components outlined in this framework.

Who it’s for?

Day-to-day transaction management and housing the traditional inputs and outputs in a single location. This is a good fit for owner-managed organizations transitioning from a manual spreadsheet-style setup — providing a single home for all financial data and allows the business to maintain its growth trajectory while quickly getting new team members up to speed.

Leaders and decision makers looking for greater management oversight and data transformation capabilities.

What it’s best suited for?

Identifying, integrating, and streamlining various accounting channels and assets while simultaneously monitoring revenue streams, contracts and costs, payroll, profits and losses, and more.

  • Multi-entity management or continuous consolidations, with the ability to view each entity individually and as a whole
  • Automation of manual accounting processes, allowing for accurate and real-time data collection and analysis
  • AI and machine learning functionality
  • A springboard to more centralized FP&A for roll-up reporting and planning, replacing Excel-based manual processes
  • More flexible and configurable reporting and embedded business intelligence (BI)

How to know if it’s for you?

Determine what’s most important to your organization’s key stakeholders. Then, cross-reference your goals with peer review sites like G2, TrustRadius, and Capterra to refine your search. A skilled advisor can also provide valuable guidance on whether you’d benefit from a cloud accounting solution, or something more robust like an ERP.

An ERP platform may be a worthwhile investment if your organization is growing in complexity or if your leadership team is looking to enhance the organization’s operational and financial performance.

Cloud accounting

Cloud accounting and bookkeeping solutions like MNP’s ease service offer core functionality that support everything from accounts reconciliation to payroll management and real-time reporting.

Who it’s for?

Day-to-day transaction management and housing the traditional inputs and outputs in a single location. This is a good fit for owner-managed organizations transitioning from a manual spreadsheet-style setup — providing a single home for all financial data and allows the business to maintain its growth trajectory while quickly getting new team members up to speed.

What it’s best suited for?

Identifying, integrating, and streamlining various accounting channels and assets while simultaneously monitoring revenue streams, contracts and costs, payroll, profits and losses, and more.

How to know if it’s for you?

Determine what’s most important to your organization’s key stakeholders. Then, cross-reference your goals with peer review sites like G2, TrustRadius, and Capterra to refine your search. A skilled advisor can also provide valuable guidance on whether you’d benefit from a cloud accounting solution, or something more robust like an ERP.

Cloud ERP

ERPs offer a more robust solution for companies experiencing significant financial growth and development — especially those looking to standardize, acquire (or divest) of entities. These platforms provide all the core financial functionality of cloud accounting solutions but take things a step further, with more robust financial and operational capabilities, from multi-entity management to operational modules such as inventory management, warehousing and other components outlined in this framework.

Who it’s for?

Leaders and decision makers looking for greater management oversight and data transformation capabilities.

What it’s best suited for?

  • Multi-entity management or continuous consolidations, with the ability to view each entity individually and as a whole
  • Automation of manual accounting processes, allowing for accurate and real-time data collection and analysis
  • AI and machine learning functionality
  • A springboard to more centralized FP&A for roll-up reporting and planning, replacing Excel-based manual processes
  • More flexible and configurable reporting and embedded business intelligence (BI)

How to know what’s right for you?

An ERP platform may be a worthwhile investment if your organization is growing in complexity or if your leadership team is looking to enhance the organization’s operational and financial performance.

How can an ERP foster innovation?

To achieve results, businesses need a digital workplace that empowers employees to do their best work. An ERP provides just this kind of solution — effectively integrating people, processes, and technologies to produce a productive, engaged, and collaborative environment.

It does this by:

  • Integrating data, algorithms, and predictive analytics to deliver greater transparency and deeper insights, improving the quality of decisions and enabling teams to prepare for unexpected events.
  • Equipping teams with the mobile tools and virtual accessibility to access information quickly, whether they’re at home, in the field, or at the office.
  • Creating a single source of truth for everyone in the organization, regardless of their location or level of involvement.
  • Leveraging financial reporting tools to soothe historic pain points and offer actionable insights on cost, service, and timeline variations.
  • Automating repetitive and low-value tasks, so teams can focus on higher-value work.
  • Creating an opportunity to examine existing processes and identify efficiencies.

ERP and M&A

What role does an ERP play in M&A?

If a merger or acquisition (M&A) is in your future, the right ERP can bring significant value to the table — both on the buy and sell side of the transaction.

Value for sellers

Optimize business value

Revenue and profitability are essential to get the best possible valuation in a divestiture. ERPs can help identify and overcome inefficiencies that are depressing the bottom line and preventing the business from realizing its full potential.

Maximize transaction value

Many buyers will target organizations with legacy systems because lack of integration capabilities and limited insight into the business can put a significant discount on the transaction. After integrating a modern cloud ERP, they can often flip the business to another buyer for a quick and healthy profit.

Value for buyers

Know what you’re getting

ERPs offer an unparalleled depth of detail in transaction management, cash flow, payroll, profits and losses, planning, reporting, and operations. Due diligence at companies with ERPs tends to be easier, more detailed, and more reliable.

Smoother integration

Closing the transaction is only the beginning of the journey. Most deal value is won or lost through the integration period — where legacy systems can be a massive cost sink. ERPs offer a glimpse into the company’s digital application landscape, integration points with other platforms, and technology issues lingering in the background.

M&A: What to look for in an ERP

When assessing a company for a potential M&A deal, examine whether their ERP infrastructure is suited to their teams, business, and sector. Additional investment may be necessary if a platform is not fully integrated or if it’s not compatible with the buyer’s existing technology.

Below are some ERP-related questions you may want to consider before an M&A.

01

Does the platform enable seamless communication across teams and locations?

02

Are commonly used platforms integrated, or are people often switching between numerous applications?

03

Is IT the company’s only resource in assisting with technology, applications, programs, and other technology concerns?

04

Does the leadership team have access to accurate real-time analysis and historical data?

05

Does the current platform align with the overall business objectives?

06

Does the current platform support near- and long-term planning, decision support, and strategy management?

07

Can platforms scale to support business model changes and company growth, including new products and services?

08

Can platforms generate information to help management plan for and respond to disruption or economic downturns?

What is the best ERP platform?

It’s a not a one size fits all answer. There are a number of options in the market, and many offer similar functionality, but not all solutions are equally beneficial for every business. Your best fit ERP will deliver the functionality and scalability you need at a price point to match you budget.

MNP recommends involving a qualified technology partner who can ask the important questions and help you make an apples-to-apples comparison of the various options available. They’ll provide an honest assessment of your needs and point you in the right direction to maximize your return on investment.

Another benefit of working with a third-party partner is longer term post-selection support with implementation, customization, training and troubleshooting as necessary — ensuring you get the very most from whatever platform you choose.

How to choose the right ERP

A qualified technology partner can help you consider all relevant factors to determine which ERP would best meet your needs, including:

What is your primary industry? Many ERP providers offer functionality to address industry- or sector-specific needs, which can help to narrow your search and provide a more direct comparison between products.

What is your strategic vision? Your ideal ERP may vary depending whether you’re targeting rapid organic growth, consolidation through M&As, or reinforcing your position in the marketplace. Consider your team’s current objectives straight through to your operational strategy. This will help conceptualize your future state while responding nimbly to industry shifts and headwinds.

What is your budget? While providers typically offer comparable products at competitive prices, key differences in add-ons, scalability, customization, and value-added services may skew the decision in favour of one provider over the other.

What is your underlying technology infrastructure? The best solution will be increasingly scalable, mobile, secure, and stable over time to satisfy your current technology integration needs and streamlined communication between the office and the field. Onboarding an ERP may also be an opportunity to evaluate other cloud transformation opportunities and how these may enhance the overall functionality of your technology architecture.

05

How easy will platform and product innovation be under this solution? Does the vendor understand how your industry is growing and the unique challenges businesses like yours face? Their development framework, application platforms, and mobility need to integrate and evolve with the natural arc of your business and your sector.

06

When do you want to be up and running? Shorter time horizons will require products with more out of the box functionality, seamless integrations with existing technology, and product familiarity among core users. Conversely, longer time horizons allow for more customizations, a more comprehensive onboarding process, and the opportunity to re-evaluate other aspects of your technology architecture.

Dynamics 365, Acumatica, Sage Intacct

MNP Digital partners with Acumatica, Microsoft, and Sage to deliver industry leading ERP solutions for your business. Each vendor has developed highly functional, dependable, and integrated ERP technology to effectively address a wide range of needs for organizations of various sizes and industries.

Want to learn more about each product? Contact a member of our team for an in-depth assessment of which might be suitable for your needs.

Making the business case for an ERP

You’ve decided an investment in an ERP makes sense for your organization. Now it’s time to make the business case to your internal stakeholders.

Here are a handful of ways to determine the potential return on investment:

  • Reduced profit leaks. An ERP can help you identify efficiency opportunities and save countless hours pursuing under-performing initiatives.
  • Better use of employee time. A report by McKinsey Global Institute revealed employees waste nearly 20 percent of their time per week searching for information. An ERP can save time and money by providing employees with the information they need when they need it.
  • More insight from your data. ERPs can reduce the time required to locate and analyze much-needed information by more than 50 percent.
  • Lower technology costs. Having one platform for the entire organization eliminates technology duplication and reduces costs like licensing fees or multiple investments in technology upgrades.

Learn more:

Support, when you need it

A capable technology adviser can help you make the business case for an ERP solution by:

  • Assessing your current setup and recommending an appropriate solution
  • Mapping the best path forward with the least amount of organizational disruption
  • Explaining the features, benefits, and usage costs of specific tools
  • Providing team training to keep the organization(s) aligned
  • Creating operational governance practices to streamline and optimize processes

Streamlining the switch to a cloud-based ERP

Maybe your organization has already realized the benefits of an ERP and is ready to make the leap to a cloud-based platform. Now you need to navigate a range of privacy, security, and migration challenges, as well as upfront costs. A strong go-forward plan will be vital to help you navigate the numerous moving pieces and decisions around consolidation, standardization, and regulatory requirements.

Below are a few best practices to help you navigate the associated complexities and risks:

Define expected business gains. Start by building a business case for the cloud transition and its associated ROI. Define expected outcomes and the ERP’s role in achieving these. Specifically, consider how shifting to a cloud-based platform might accelerate productivity, increase functionality, reduce costs, and improve customer experiences.

Understand the benefits and costs going in. Information technology infrastructure is expensive. Equipment, applications, labour, maintenance, upgrades — these add up, particularly if you’re repurposing legacy technologies. A cloud ERP can address this issue on several levels:

  • First, you rent these solutions, rather than buy them. Contracts typically include the costs of upgrades, hardware, and the platform itself. Suppliers are also responsible for capacity planning, administration, maintenance, troubleshooting, and backup.
  • Second, the cloud also offers scalability. Beyond simply paying only for what you use, cloud services and tools can rapidly upscale or downscale as your organization’s needs evolve.

Take stock of inventory information assets. Capture a full inventory of information assets to understand the impacts, risks, and costs associated with moving each component to the cloud. Be sure to assess the dependencies of data assets, supporting applications, users, the potential impact to users, and trends in asset use.

After determining assets that could potentially be migrated, compare the logistics and costs of shifting to the cloud versus retaining these assets on-premises. Gartner’s Three Rings of Information Governance Model can help with categorizing and prioritizing data to improve business outcomes. This assessment will also reveal opportunities for eliminating resources that have limited future value.

Develop a strong governance framework. Establish the groundwork for a smooth implementation with policies, standards, and processes involved in planning, acquiring, deploying, operating, managing, and securing cloud technologies.

If moving assets to a public cloud, make sure you understand what governance and security the vendor provides and what responsibilities you will assume. Specifically, make sure you have a comprehensive security model for your information assets, you’re protecting your end customers’ privacy, and have conducted thorough due diligence of your cloud service provider.

05

Create a detailed cloud migration roadmap and change management strategy. Create a clear plan and roadmap that enables organizational leaders to identify key decisions, necessary resources, and any potential challenges along the way. How will you protect information assets you’re migrating to the cloud? How will you ensure users adopt and embrace the new cloud solution?

Content contributors

Business portrait of Daniel Caringi

Daniel Caringi

Partner, Business Platforms Market Lead (Services)
Business portrait of Kerry Mann

Kerry Mann

Partner, Business Platforms Market Lead (Industrials)
Business portrait of Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy

Partner, National Digital Solutions Leader

Begin your free assessment

Lower costs, better business insights, greater line of sight into how your teams are functioning and how everyone contributes to your organization’s success: these are just a handful of the benefits you can expect from an ERP platform tailored to your needs.

Getting started is easy! Simply reach out via the contact form below, and a member of our team will be happy to provide a free assessment of your needs and an overview of your options. Our teams look forward to connecting with you and finding the right solution to address your unique business challenges — we’ll be right there with you, every step of the way.



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Playbook: Your complete guide to purchasing an enterprise resource planning platform

You need to be agile to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving business environment. Learn how your organization can benefit from an enterprise resource planning system.