ERP implementation - cause for concern?

According to a recent research study from Epicor, a resounding 96 percent of organisations surveyed worldwide have confidence in their ability to navigate the early stages of the ERP purchase process, from initial evaluation to requirements planning. However, 48 percent cited a strong need for more support and partnership from their ERP providers during the latter stages of the purchase journey – from implementation, go-live, and ongoing customer care – to ease migration and realise faster time-to-value.

The 2022 Epicor Industry Insights Report surveyed more than 1,350 ERP users in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand to reveal what is driving organisations to look for – and expect more – from their ERP providers, especially critical as organisations are increasingly presented with a growing number of options in making the move to the cloud and expanding technology capabilities beyond traditional ERP.

According to the study, 82 percent of respondents were operating in a hybrid cloud environment, with 46 percent either primarily or entirely in the cloud, a slight uptick from survey findings in 2021 which saw a large increase in cloud consideration driven by the pandemic. In fact, 90 percent of decision makers indicated their move to the cloud was worth the effort, having realised a variety of transformational benefits including improved flexibility and adaptability, better security, simple regulatory compliance, and enhanced business resilience.

But while the vast majority of these respondents using cloud solutions – nearly 90 percent – said they feel loyal to their current ERP provider, nearly half of decision makers said they actively consider moving to a new ERP solution every one to three years, due in part to industry innovation and rapid digital transformation delivering a proliferation of new technologies. Common triggers cited for re-evaluation include better functionality from another provider, integration challenges with new technologies, cybersecurity concerns, and stronger customer support. For ERP providers, there’s no room for complacency.

“Companies are setting a higher bar for their ERP providers to deliver on more than just the technology itself,” said Steve Murphy, CEO of Epicor. “Our annual study shows that customers want a provider that can not only tailor their solution to the industry-specific needs that fit the customer’s business, but also collaborate closely throughout the entire purchase journey to provide transparency, strengthen onboarding and training, ensure dedicated support teams, and ultimately help realise meaningful business value. To do that, the ERP provider can’t just be a software expert, they must also act as a committed partner.”

The study identified five phases of the customer experience – from sales, planning, implementation, go-live, and ongoing support – and what respondents need across each. The collective insights from the study show a clear picture of what customers are really looking for from their ERP partner:

Industry-Specific Knowledge and Guidance: Customers need to be confident that their ERP partner knows their industry and understands their business. They want guidance and solutions that are curated to their specific needs, especially during the implementation and go-live phases of the journey.

Interoperability and Data Support: For successful migration and integration, having a dedicated support team is a must-have. From supporting backup and data hygiene issues, to ensuring successful interoperability across applications, expert support delivers a better experience for customers.

Staff Training and Materials: Migrating to a new ERP solution can feel daunting, and it is essential for customers to get staff up to speed as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Businesses value staff training and onboarding materials that help make the switch a successful and painless experience.

Greater Transparency: Businesses really value transparency and clarity, especially during evaluation and planning. They are concerned by a lack of transparency around pricing and security, and worried by a lack of clarity around training during migration.

Better Partnership: Teamwork and partnership are crucial. Businesses want a consistent team that supports them at every stage. From initial contact, to “on the ground” support for go-live and beyond, they need to know they are a priority.

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