The Best of Both Worlds: Don’t Forget to Predict the Future

A True Story
Recently, John Kearns, Controller for IntegraMed shared with me an unexpected turn of events his team faced a few months before. After 10 years as a multi-location company with no notable disruptions, US-based IntegraMed acquired a new company. That wasn’t the hard part. The real surprise was the newly acquired company was Canadian. John’s organization was now managing a new business and reporting on a multi-entity and multi-currency basis. He was quite pleased to share that he and his team were able to accommodate handling financials for this international entity in minutes. So how did they do it? They started with the right ERP.

In our last blog post we covered the universal considerations for evaluating an ERP. Get those two things right, and your company will gain tremendous strides toward efficiency and visibility today. But what about the challenges that may—or may not—appear in the years to come?

In this post we are going beyond the challenges you already know about and asking the question: How do you prepare for the unknowable? Will the ERP you choose today take you seamlessly into the future, even if that future only vaguely resembles what you expected?

New Locations, New Entities, New Currencies
Not all companies will face the same challenges as IntegraMed, but change in your business is one thing you can guarantee. Even if your company isn’t multi-entity or multi-currency today, it is wise to choose an ERP purpose-built to manage such complexity. You’ll need to consider how your ERP accommodates geographic expansion.

  • When a new user is added, what is the process for controlling access to individual entities?
  • Will new entities automatically inherit your chart of accounts definitions and vendor lists?
  • Will workflow definitions be carried over to new entities?
  • In what ways would the solution support financial performance comparisons between locations? Could it give you visibility into operational data across the globe? For example, could it show AR aging by a single customer across all locations?

To hear directly from John Kearns and other customers talk about the value of easy change with your ERP, watch this video.

Scaling with Growth Any growing company should verify that a new cloud ERP will scale over an average of 10 years. If a system should become sluggish or fail to flex to your requirements, you may be forced to switch ERPs much sooner than you planned. And remember that changes to your business model can easily change the volume of data you need to handle. For example, if you shift your business to a subscription model with monthly invoicing, you’ll be increasing your billing volume by a factor of 12.

So how can you assess cloud ERP scalability?
Here are a few questions to pose to vendors that can help you assess whether an ERP will still meet your needs in the years to come.

  • In the event of major growth or acquisitions, can the ERP easily scale to hundreds of entities?
  • How many users do your largest customers have on the system?
  • How many transactions are your largest customers processing?

Be sure to follow along with this blog series—check back on September 9th for the next post on how to evaluate an advanced ERPs ability to connect with Salesforce!