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There’s no denying that cost will be one of the most important factors to consider when you come to upgrade your business management software. If it’s the only factor influencing your company’s purchase decision though, then the solution you end up with may not be the best fit — if not now, then a few years down the line when your organisational needs and footprint have grown. So how can you find a solution that will be the best investment for your business — while justifying the price to your executive team?

Here are three strategies that could help you get there:

1: Look beyond the initial price tag

You know the costs of an IT system aren’t all included in the initial purchase price, so make sure you’ve identified the total cost of ownership (TCO) for your chosen solution over its expected lifetime. What’s included in the price, beyond the solution itself? Is there a support package for example? How will updates to the system be handled? Does the solution contain all the elements you will need – now and in the future? Will investing in this software free up resources elsewhere in the business? If so, how much time and money will that save?

This information will give you the complete picture, allowing you to fully evaluate the costs and the benefits of your preferred solution.

2: Don’t buy what you can’t use

Some solutions come as an all-encompassing package, providing you with everything you need — and a few things that you probably don’t need as well. Other solutions are more modular, enabling you to take on new functionality at a pace to suit you.

You might choose to start with basic functionality, and once this has been successfully deployed, add more enhanced or industry-specific functionality over time. By deploying a modular solution you can reduce your initial investment by starting with your core business functions — perhaps CRM, accounting, and warehousing — and gradually add more sophisticated functionality when you’re ready.

By spreading your investment in this way you can reserve capital for other projects. Also, when you choose to move beyond basic functionality you can adopt specific modules that are a priority for your business, ensuring that you only use — and pay for — what your business needs.

3: Look to the cloud     

When you purchase a solution in the traditional way, a lot of your money goes on the hardware, the space to house it and employing the people to maintain and operate it. Increasingly, businesses are looking at cloud-based solutions to free themselves from these fixed costs. By taking an ‘as a service’ solution delivered via the cloud, your business will become far more agile; you will be able to respond more rapidly to demand by scaling IT resources up or down according to need. You’ll always have access to extra capacity if required, and you’ll be able to avoid paying for licences or capacity you no longer need, keeping costs closely aligned with demand. You’ll also find that most providers of cloud-based solutions will automatically update your solution for you, keeping it ‘evergreen’ as part of the support package. Security measures and disaster recovery will also come as standard.

It’s all about returns

The three strategies outlined in this blog are not mutually exclusive; you can take them all into account when the time comes to refresh your IT systems. Whatever approach you adopt — modular or all-encompassing, cloud or on-premise — the key to success lies in understanding how the solution you’re looking at will provide a return on your company’s investment – this way you’ll have a solid business case for choosing your new business management solution.

For more practical advice on selecting and implementing a new software solution, join our next complimentary masterclass.

#Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) #Finance & Accounting

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