ERP on Your Terms: Predictable costs help turn your business vision into reality.

As you choose a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for your business, you'll be weighing a lot of options and making a lot of decisions. During the past several weeks, we've been publishing a blog series featuring questions to consider during your evaluation process. You can read the latest post here and follow the overall discussion that our series is driving on Twitter at #ERPONYOURTERMS.    

Obviously, cost will be a consideration for you as you evaluate ERP options. Earlier in our series, we talked about carefully comparing initial and ongoing costs, expenses and capital outlays, fixed and variable costs. Our question this week explores another crucial aspect of costs to think about, and this one will have a major impact on the long-term success of your ERP choice.

Does the solution offer a predictable cost model?

As you look at different on-premises, partner-hosted, public cloud, and hybrid ERP solutions, you need to fully understand and carefully compare the predictability of costs for each option-particularly future-year costs. The one predictable thing about the future is that it will be different from today. The solution that delivers the lowest cost right now might feel like the right choice, but what happens as new customer requirements emerge, line-of-business software upgrades are released, or your business expands rapidly? Can the impact of these changes on ERP costs be predicted accurately? Will the outcome be acceptable? Or will it leave you to deal with unexpected-and unacceptable-costs?

Many SaaS (software-as-a-service), or cloud-based, ERP solutions offer more cost predictability than on-premises options because of their flexible licensing arrangements and stable, use-based subscription rates. If you negotiate carefully, you can ensure that upgrades, software fixes, service packs, and updates (which can cover things such as tax and regulatory changes) will be included in your subscription, giving you even greater cost predictability. And you may be able to negotiate service level agreements for security or high availability. Just watch out for first-year discounts that lure you in, but then increase for year two and beyond. Especially with public-cloud vendors that control your data. Cloud-based ERP solutions can also can be deployed and extended quickly while helping you avoid server hardware and IT staffing costs, so your ERP capabilities can keep pace with the growth of your business.

A new ERP solution can open up other opportunities to save money, too. An easy-to-configure solution reduces the need for in-house IT staff and external technical support resources, especially if it integrates smoothly with the line-of-business software and productivity tools that your people also use. Powerful features built into today's ERP solutions can help improve data accuracy and availability, which leads to business benefits like more competitive pricing, more accurate billing, and greater collaboration with suppliers. You'll be able to spot changing conditions and respond quickly, without conducting additional costly analysis.

Why Microsoft Dynamics ERP?

Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions deliver cost predictability, helping you to budget your ongoing ERP expenses more accurately and shield your business from ERP system cost fluctuations, with a protected list price that serves as the basis for your future renewals. You can also count on a guaranteed support life cycle from Microsoft that ensures support for your ERP for up to 10 years. For more information, visit http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle.

Keep in mind that purchase or licensing costs are just part of the full cost of an ERP solution. It's critical to know up front what the costs will be for implementation services, maintenance fees, training, and upgrades. Many Microsoft Dynamics partners support cost predictability by offering fixed-scope rapid ERP implementations that include initial licenses, deployment, and training to help you get up and running quickly and affordably.

Customer Examples

Take a few moments to learn how three Microsoft Dynamics ERP customers are taking advantage of predictable costs to help turn their business vision into reality.

Print Management Partners: Print Distributor Strengthens Customer Ties with Flexible ERP Solution

Syndiant: Fabless Manufacturer Goes to Market with Support from a Cloud-Based ERP Solution

Primo Water: Water Distribution Start-up Uses Microsoft Dynamics to Manage Growth and Drive Business Value

 Join us next week when we examine another question in our blog series: How stable is the ERP vendor you are evaluating? And in the meantime, you can learn more about Microsoft Dynamics ERP and the low-priced packaged solutions offered by our partners here or register to attend an upcoming webcast to learn more.

 Until next week.

Jen