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Chris Grady15-Jan-2024 15:10:555 min read

6 ways choosing ERP software is like sending your child to university

Selecting an ERP system for your business and choosing the right school or university for your child may seem like entirely different decisions. Still, they share several similarities when it comes to the decision-making process.

Understand what you want to achieve with ERP

School Selection:
You don’t study construction if you want to be a doctor, just like you don’t study medicine if you want to be a brick-layer. 

When it comes to choosing a University, you’re making a decision about your child’s future career and lifestyle - not just where they’ll live for the next 3 years. Does that Uni have the right courses available? Is it well known for them? And what about the culture and extra curricular activities? There’s a lot to take into account.

While your time at Uni is only a small part of your life as a whole - making the right decision at this stage can have a big impact on the next 10-20 years. 

SAP Selection:
Much like University, ERP implementation takes only a few years, but will impact how your business is run for a decade or more. 

Before choosing an ERP system, for example, SAP S/4HANA, it’s important to understand what your business needs from ERP. Will you mainly need financial management and back office functionality? Will you need to cover other functionality such as inventory control or customer relationship management?
And you can’t stop at the here and now - it’s also important to consider what your future requirements might look like. Planning on streamlining your HR and payroll processes? What action do you need to take now to ensure that’s easier in the long run?

Making informed decisions when you choose ERP can set you up for success many years down the line.

Consider your budget when choosing ERP

School Selection:
Tuition costs, accommodation, and the occasional trip to the pub. When it comes to University, budget matters. 

Some students may live like kings when their loans first come in, but semesters last a lot longer than you think and money can run out fast. 

Different schools, towns and cities all have different costs associated with them, so it's important to take budget into account when choosing a University. 

SAP Selection: 
Don’t shoot for the moon if you only need to get to Blackburn.

Consider your budget wisely when choosing an ERP solution, weighing the cost of licensing, implementation, and ongoing maintenance.

Remember not to be led astray by your SIs and software vendors who want to sell you bigger systems and longer, more complicated implementation programmes. Understand your ERP requirements and stick to them.

Is your future ERP scalable?

School Selection:
So what happens if your child gets to the end of their time at Uni and feels academia calling their name? 

Some Universities offer far more than basic undergraduate degrees - so having the option for postgraduate learning might be important. 

Whether that’s a Master's Degree, Postgraduate Certificate of Education or Ph.D., understanding the options from the outset is wise and is great preparation for future study. 

Whilst some postgrads may want to branch out to a new city or school, having the option to continue their education without moving across the country is worth considering when choosing a University. 

SAP Selection:
Think BIG. This tracks back to the previous comment about looking to the future. 

Whatever ERP solution you choose, it needs to have the ability to scale as your business grows, accommodating increased data and users.  

Whilst growth and SAP may not seem simpatico right this second, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Is it easy to integrate into your new ERP?

School Selection:
Whilst it could be the perfect course, it might not be the perfect institution.

University is a big enough change as is, so it's no good if the school, location and accommodation don’t work for the student. 

It’s important to consider the school’s compatibility with family values, culture and lifestyle. 

Though it would seem a bit out of the ordinary for an atheist to attend a seminary, if it works it works. 

SAP Selection:
What good is an SAP system upgrade if it isn’t remotely compatible with the other systems that already exist in your tech landscape? 

Whilst it would be lovely if all the systems could get along, it’s important to put the work into ensuring that’s the case before spending a LOT of money on a new ERP system. 

When it comes to selecting ERP software, assess whether it can integrate with your existing software and hardware, so you can ensure seamless operation post-implementation.

Getting the right support and training for ERP

School Selection:
Choosing the right University also means making sure the right support options are available outside of the lecture hall. 

You might consider things like the sports teams, the library facilities, and the pastoral care that the school provides to make sure your child embeds well there.

SAP Selection:
You wouldn’t get in a car and just assume you know how to drive, the same applies to your SAP system.
Exploring support and training offered, not only by SAP but other external training platforms, is crucial.

With the correct support, training and adoption plans, and vendor in place, you can ensure your employees can effectively use the SAP system of your choice.

Get impartial and honest advice on ERP selection

School Selection:
University tables exist for a reason. 

Whether it’s St. Andrews or Teesside, every University is given the TripAdvisor treatment.

Each year students from 500 institutions are given the opportunity to complete the NSS (or National Student Survey) and give their honest feedback about their University experience.

Each year Universities are ranked in a variety of different areas, from pass rates to student experience, and are collated into a league table and published for everyone to see.

It’s the perfect tool to see what real students think and give a true insight into what can be expected from the University experience.

SAP Selection:
What does everybody else think? 

Feedback and reviews matter when it comes to multi-million pound ERP systems, and it would be downright stupid to ignore what people are saying about the SAP solution you’re looking to implement.

When you’re in the selection process, speak to other customers who’ve gone through the same plan, implementation and adoption phases. 

Their feedback will be invaluable and give you a good idea of what to expect and how well the SAP solution actually works.

It's important to find the right partner that can help you choose the best SAP solution for your business. We aren’t UCAS, so don’t come to us for University advice, but we can definitely help with making sure you make the right choice when it comes to business-side SAP.

Find out more about how we can support your ERP selection here.


Chris Grady

Chris is a Information technology executive with 25 years of hands-on experience leading people, projects and teams; Business Development, orchestrating the delivery and transformation of services and overseeing technology programmes​ across a wide range of Industries in EMEA, Asia & the USA.