Business Management

Craig Stevens (Europe) - Five Things to Consider When Implementing ERP in Eastern Europe

With the Eastern European economy slowly stabilizing, companies are acknowledging that they should become more flexible to new growth opportunities. To support this growth, modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems help drive efficiency and allow businesses to respond quickly to changing market dynamics. But what do companies need to consider when implementing ERP in Eastern Europe?
Here are my five top tips.

1. Global Capabilities and Local Know-How

Nearly all ERP systems can be easily translated into different languages, and most can handle different currencies. However, understanding the different tax and accounting rules across the region is a different challenge. Consider, for example, the special Hungarian VAT rules for ‘continuous delivered services', or the double check of accounting transactions in Greece. Make sure your chosen vendor can demonstrate the required knowledge not only within the software, but also in their project team.

2. Business Process Analysis & Mapping

Experienced vendors analyze a company's business processes and map their software functionality in order to design a system that fits the business; as opposed to having to change processes to accommodate the new ERP solution. An effective analysis and mapping phase will also ensure that the investment is focussed on required modules and functionality, rather than on extras that may never be used.

3. Rapid Implementation Time

Eastern European companies investing in ERP need to minimize business downtime that can turn into lost opportunities and revenue, and therefore need to consider vendors that can demonstrate proven implementation methods and realistic timelines. A hasty implementation can lock you into bad decisions or a lifetime of workarounds.
To speed up implementation, many vendors take advantage of industry templates or best practice process models. These can be very successful so long as the templates and models have the flexibility to accommodate your unique practices that drive competitive advantage.

4. Vendor Industry Experience

Make sure the vendor can offer valuable insight based on extensive experience within your industry. A vendor with industry expertise is more likely to invest in the key functionality for that industry, thus ensuring greater value and longer lifespan for your ERP investment.

5. Vendor Reputation and Stability

Because an ERP system has a long lifespan, it is critical to find a strong, stable partner, that can ensure that you get the most value out of your solution for at least 5 to 10 years after going live. Return on investment is more important than ever in Eastern Europe because of the tough market conditions; and while these conditions are improving, cash is limited and investments are carefully scrutinized.

By Craig Stephens, director product marketing, Epicor Software Corporation


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