The holiday decorations (and even Valentine’s hearts) may have come and gone, but the year is still young and fresh. Many of you are still digging in on goal setting and priority establishment knowing there is a lot of 2020 left ahead.
And that’s great, because it gives us the chance to talk about software investment, and how not all investments generate equal return—or return at all, in some cases.
Let’s start by talking about money. You’re in business to make a profit, but you’re savvy enough to know that to make money, you sometimes need to spend money. So, you’ve been thinking about new tools for a while—specifically about investing in an ERP or other software platform to run your business.
Fantastic. Working smarter is easier with the right tools in place. But before you make the investment, you have to understand what the total cost is going to be, and what your business stands to realize on that investment.
On average, the total price tag of the software and services for an ERP implementation can range from $150,000 to $750,000. That’s just the investment to get you started, and it doesn’t take into account additional costs like annual software maintenance costs, which can be 20% of initial license fees. It doesn’t include the cost of permanent staff or consultants, staff training, or lost productivity. When you add all associated costs together, you’re looking at a serious investment. Even if you’re not opting for an ERP and are instead looking at enterprise software of a different kind, you’re still making a significant investment.
How do you minimize risk and maximize your ROI? It’s an important question to answer, so we’re sharing six ways you can bolster your firm’s ability to realize return on your software investment.
#1 – Understand your gaps
Start by understanding the crucial gaps in your existing systems. After all, you can’t choose the best solution to your problems if you don’t know what your problems are in the first place. Is your sales operations team caught in the scramble to get inventory where it needs to be today and tomorrow? Are your reps bogged down with data entry when they could be focused on relationships instead? Look for the choke points in your workflows and the places where friction means your people can’t do their best work.
#2 – Focus on specific functionality
Many software solutions promise a huge number of features, but the feature list length doesn’t matter if it doesn’t address your industry- and business-specific needs. Consider that orthopedic implants are contained in bins and trays and must be tracked as individual items. When items are sold and then replenished, these items need to be tracked, too. Many ERPs and other software systems can’t support this business-specific functionality—so you’re paying for something that’s not going to solve your problems.
Ensure the system you choose can deliver the specific functionality you need to support your team in working smarter, not harder.
#3 – Don’t forget about mobile functionality
When you’re based in the office or warehouse, it can be easy to overlook the importance of mobile functionality in evaluating software solutions. Think about how much your inventory management and visibility rely on movement in the field, however. Many software systems don’t fulfill the needs of your reps. These solutions are not going to help you create a digitally connected supply chain between manufacturer and patient, so you’re only ever going to be looking at an incomplete picture.
#4 – Look for high adoption rates
High adoption rates equal full utilization, which accelerates your return on investment. Be strategic with rollout for quick wins and a clear sense that adoption will make everyone’s work and collaboration easier.
Look for vendors with high adoption rates who have clearly bottled the secret sauce of strategic rollout (Oh, what’s our adoption rate? 97%. We’d love to tell you more about how and why).
#5 – Understand implementation and integration
Whether you’re looking at an ERP or another system, be sure you understand what the timeline and costs for implementation are. ERP implementations can drag on for a year or more, and many other systems involve implementations in the six-month range.
Integration is another serious sticking point. Can the system you’re evaluating integrate effectively with the tools you’re using? What if you hire new leadership and they want to switch from NetSuite to SAP? What if new regulatory compliance measures necessitate new tools and workflows? Can your system change easily with you, or is change going to be costly, too?
Look for flexible integration potential and a track record of success with implementation with a clearly defined timetable.
#6 – Opt for a modular system
Let’s go back to money. A smaller, smarter investment puts you in a much better position to generate return. If you can take a modular approach to rollout, you’re going to be able to celebrate small wins, achieve high adoption rates, and cause far less disruption to your everyday productivity. Can the system you choose grow with you? Does it offer flexibility in implementation whether you’re a startup or a top-ten firm by size and revenue?
Several of our clients are manufacturers with $10 to $50 million in annual revenue running their operations on ImplantBase and their accounting software alone. It’s possible, profitable, and strategic.
As the industry-specific all-in-one software platform for your sales operations, inventory management, and finance functions, ImplantBase is designed to wrap around your business—no matter how you do business. We’ve developed a system that’s flexible in module use, pricing, and system integration, so you can choose how you roll it out. Best of all, you’ll be much more strategically positioned to realize the return on your software investment.