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Selecting Technology That Best Fits Your Direct-To-Consumer Business

Posted by Indusa Admin on May 6, 2015 4:38 am

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For quite some time now, businesses have been using order management systems (OMS) to automate and streamline their ordering process. A well-functioning OMS provided constant updates to inventory and a well maintained database of suppliers, customers, payments, returns and refunds.

But with advancement in technology, businesses like yours are constantly facing a dilemma whether to replace their current OMS or Warehouse Management System (WMS), with a wide variety of choices. Should you go for a specialized OMS, or would an enterprise-wide system such as an ERP be the best choice?

Selecting Right ERP

From a platform perspective, should you choose an on premise license model or does it make more sense to use a SaaS or cloud-based model and pay as you go? If they really like the functionality of their contact center system, what options do they have to implement to create a best-of-breed standalone WMS?

Here are 6 points to consider:

Write up your requirements: Regardless of the technology you are considering, start by formalizing your requirements. They will form the baseline for vendor selection and help you determine the absolute modifications you need to have for implementation.

Write and send an RFP: Do your homework first to know which vendors should be on the short list for a direct business of your type and size.

Create a decision matrix: After getting the vendors’ responses, put their functionality responses on a spreadsheet and compare the answers.

Do scripted demos: Invite the two best choices to demonstrate and present their product using a script of how you want the demonstrations to proceed. This lets you be in control and see the parts of the systems that you want.

Determine the TCO: This is where the SaaS and cloud models have totally different costs from the on premise models. When you add in licenses, hardware, software, maintenance, professional services (for installation, conversion, training, etc.), how do the two approaches compare? SaaS or cloud options may have implementation costs and “pay as you go” transaction processing which allow you to get into a new system at a lower initial cost. But if you look out five years or more, how do the economics work for your implementation?

Set up your project management: Think about how you’re going to manage the implementation before you sign the contracts. Companies are lean and managers don’t have much extra time. The reality is that the vendor can’t and shouldn’t project manage the total implementation.

The vendor certainly will have the project manager and project team for the technical aspects – or you may share in these tasks. However, you need to be responsible for the planning and project control of the implementation, while drawing on the experience of the vendor’s team.

Your responsibilities should include the final conference room pilot and sign-off; writing the training and procedures documents; training the relevant departments; reviewing converted files for data integrity; and management sign-off on your readiness to go live.

Constantly changing business environments and the need for integration has led to demand for an even more efficient management system. But before implementation of any management system, it is essential for businesses to evaluate their own needs so that they can make a wise decision of choosing from a vast pool of options available to them.

So, have you made the wise decision, or is it just another cost affair?

About the Author – Neha Kumar

Neha Kumar is a digital media evangelist and marketing professional. She overlooks Indusa’s content management, social media, online events, email marketing, blogs, digital campaigns, lead generation and inside sales activities on a broader scale.


Topics: ERP