How Vendors Quote ERP Implementations

December 2, 2014

Implementation Cost StrategiesWhen your company decides to invest in an ERP software system, the term ‘implementation’ will undoubtedly be used on a frequent basis. If you are unfamiliar with ERP systems and are in the initial stages of your software search, you may be unaware of the sheer number of factors present in a typical ERP implementation, and how vendors provide quotes on the process. To help demystify the inherent ambiguity of the word itself, the following list provides an overview of a typical ERP implementation process:

Definition of Scope

The definition of scope, or requirements analysis, is the process associated with analysing and documenting a company’s specific business needs and expectations, and developing a project plan to ensure those needs are met.

Installation

Installation, although self-explanatory, is the actual set-up of the software by the vendor’s product experts on your company’s servers (or the vendor’s servers if it’s a cloud based application) and represents the central component to any implementation of ERP software.

Configuration & Integration

Configuration means setting up the software with your company’s existing information, users, and personal settings. In addition, integration is the configuration of the software to enable communication to existing and external systems.

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What is the difference between Contact Management and CRM?

September 27, 2013

Difference Between Contact Management and CRMIn an age of short attention spans, busy schedules and smart phones, we continue to see the use of acronyms in simplifying industry terms, but this can sometimes lead to a poor understanding of the actual meaning and implications behind these phrases.  An example is the use of “CRM” (Customer Relationship Management) to describe all Contact Management systems. In fact there is a difference between a true CRM and a Contact Management system.  Many software vendors use these two terms interchangeably.  This post explores the differences between Contact Management and CRM systems, and will hopefully help you to make better decisions when evaluating software.

Contact Management is a broad term that covers the tracking of customer, vendor and individuals’ information and communication.  Most Contact Management systems will typically allow you to track:

  • Address information including ship to and bill to addresses if necessary
  • Main contact information and additional contact information, including position and associated companies
  • Associated sales rep information, and open quotes, orders and sales history information
  • Communication with customers, vendors etc. – verbal or email

Customer Relationship Management implies a more advanced system, providing additional sales and marketing capabilities.  CRM systems are typically used to fully manage relationships with customers, vendors, and prospects by allowing users to schedule upcoming actions, events and meetings, move prospects through the sales funnel, create email lists and categorize prospects and customers.  CRM systems are about managing sales funnels, sales cycles and relationships, and not just storing basic information.

A CRM is particularly useful for businesses that have long or complex sales cycles requiring ongoing customer interaction, with scheduled follow-up dates and detailed communication records.

Other features to look for in both Contact Management and CRM software include:

  • The ability to schedule appointments with, and send emails to, the contact from within the system
  • Automatically date and time stamp notes added in order to track communication
  • Ability to change and manage lead statuses
  • A “lead review screen” or dashboard to alert sales reps on required activities and follow-ups for the day

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Lot Tracking Defined: Understanding Common ERP Jargon

March 15, 2013

Lot Tracking Defined

This post is number two in a series of posts discussing commonly misunderstood ERP software terms. 

Lot tracking can be an important concept to understand, and for some businesses, it’s an integral component of distribution inventory software.  So what exactly does lot tracking mean? If you guessed a system that ensures Bob the accountant stops stealing your parking spot at work – you’re incorrect (although a system like that would be nice). No, lot tracking refers to a system that has the ability to properly track product lots (as in manufactured lots or batches)along the entire supply chain – a requirement for  businesses that deal with perishable or potentially harmful products.

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eCommerce Integration Defined: Understanding Common Software Jargon

February 27, 2013

eCommerce Software JargonThis is the first in a series of posts that discuss commonly misunderstood ERP software jargon. Although some of these terms may vary by business, we will try our best to give as generic a definition as possible.

Before defining eCommerce integration, we should take a step back and first explore the term eCommerce.

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