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If 2024 is the year your business is investing in and implementing its first enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, congratulations! It’s a big—and important—step for your organization. 

By now you’ve probably noticed that buying an ERP is not the easiest process. Not only does your organization need to accommodate budget, time, and training for this new implementation, you also have to sift through a lot of ERP solutions to find the one that’s right for you. This includes selecting between two different types of ERP systems: out-of-the-box/standard or custom. 

Custom ERPs are exactly what they sound like: ERPs with features that are specifically designed to meet your unique requirements and business needs. This option makes sure you get exactly what you’re looking for, but it of course comes at a higher price tag. And if this is your first time using an ERP, jumping headfirst into a custom design might end up biting off more than you can chew. 

Plus, even though a custom system should have the capability to better accommodate all your unique business processes, it still may not be the best option for your business. Some organizations find during this customization stage that the processes they thought were unique are actually inefficient, and following a more “standard” way of doing it is actually faster or more cost effective. 

That’s where out-of-the-box standard ERPs come in. These systems work immediately “out of the box” (remember the days when software actually came in boxes?) and can have you up and running in no time— about 2-6 months versus an indeterminate timeframe that varies from project to project with custom software. Let’s face it: The sooner you can use your new ERP, the sooner you’ll see benefits from the investment you’ve made. 

Not only that, standard out-of-the-box ERPs have much smoother updates. Any time the vendor upgrades the ERP software, you know it will be compatible with your system and ready to use right away without disrupting your processes and operations. 

Finally, many out-of-the-box ERPs are flexible enough for moderate customization to accommodate your process variations without having to build anything from scratch. They also allow for integrations that can streamline your processes. (More on that in a bit!)

All of this combined makes out-of-the-box ERPs a top choice for businesses that need a faster ROI on their implementation. 

Tips on Choosing Your New Standard ERP

Most average businesses will find the greatest value in implementing a standard out-of-the-box ERP, especially if this is their first time adding an ERP to the organization. Yet even among the standard out-of-the-box ERPs, there are different features and availabilities. How do you know what to pick? 

That’s a great question. Let’s take a look at how to pick the most effective out-of-the-box ERP

  1. Work with the Right Vendor. This starts with finding the vendors who specialize in your industry. Your business needs are led by where you fit in the broader market, and an ERP that specializes in your industry will be best able to meet those needs. 
  2. Look for Good Practices. Once you have a vendor who understands your industry, you can dig into how their ERP system is designed to support industry-specific practices. Any tried-and-true processes that you can adopt right away to simplify operations will boost your chances at success.
  3. Choose Tech That Can Keep Up. Your organization will grow and change, so choose an ERP system that enables integrations that lets your tech stack evolve as you do. 
  4. Adjust and Configure. While an out-of-the-box ERP can be plug and play, there are still areas to tweak and adjust. Plan to use as much of the standard system as you can, but also feel free to configure when necessary. ERPs that have low or no code changes will let you adapt without needing a technical expert.
  5. Manage Culture Change. Even positive change is difficult. Developing a clear change-management strategy will help your teams understand the benefits of your new ERP and how to best use it. It will also make a big difference if you’ve prioritized tech that is intuitive and user-friendly. 

Adding a standard out-of-the-box ERP—a favorite of ours happens to be NetSuite—will shift the mindset of your organization as you learn to use this new tool. But your business will also reap significant benefits in a dynamic business landscape. And selecting an ERP like NetSuite with a simplified implementation process will get you on the road to success even faster. 

Fine-Tuning Your New ERP Solution with Integrations

Once you’ve got your ERP up and running, be sure to go back to point number 4 above: adjust and configure. Even after the solution is humming along, there will be opportunity to fine-tune. Some of those fine-tuning elements might even come in the form of integrations that connect what you have with what you need to do to speed and simplify other processes. 

For example, uploading data to NetSuite is typically accomplished through a CSV import using the NetSuite UI. It’s a straightforward process, but there are some challenges: You must wait for the entire upload to run before you’re alerted to any errors. This can be a time-consuming process, especially if there are multiple errors not all caught at once. 

That’s why at CloudExtend, we decided to find a better way, a way that requires no code and no technical experts. Just you, a NetSuite account, and Excel. That’s right, Excel. With CloudExtend’s Excel integration app ExtendInsights, users can upload as many as 10,000 lines to NetSuite directly from Excel. No CSV files, no running through the UI, no waiting to find out if there are errors, either. ExtendInsights provides instant data validation so you can find and fix errors fast before the upload even begins. And that’s not all ExtendInsights can help you do in NetSuite from the comfort of Excel. There’s also reporting and analyzing. 

Jack Lingo Asset Management (JLAM) uses ExtendInsights for NetSuite to improve extensive data upload processes. Controller Ian Goodenough shared: “Utilizing ExtendInsights has refined the import process, reducing the time from one minute when performed through NetSuite’s native interface to a swift 10 seconds. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re importing a lot of different data from other places, it adds up to a lot.” Read more about JLAM’s experience with CloudExtend here.

Ready to try ExtendInsights Excel integrations for yourself? Get started for free and see how we can help make your out-of-the-box ERP experience even easier.