Your new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution will be an important part of the future of your business. If you can expand and adapt it easily and affordably as your business grows and your needs change, your ERP investment will help you succeed. But if getting your systems to perform properly drains time and money away from the business of your business, achieving your goals will be at risk. For the past several weeks, we've been publishing a blog series to help you address some of the key topics relevant to evaluating an ERP solution. Each week, we've raised one question for you to answer before you choose the ERP solution that's right for you. You can catch up on the overall discussion via Twitter at #ERPONYOURTERMS. In the most recent blog post, we highlighted the importance of choosing an ERP from a stable vendor who focuses on companies like yours. This week, we urge you to take the next step: look closely at each vendor's technology plan for the future. Here's the question to ask:

What is your product roadmap, and what R&D investments are you making to deliver ongoing innovation and value?

Vendors who operate without a technology vision and a documented roadmap to pursue it may be stable today, but they risk standing still while the future overtakes them. Choosing an ERP solution from a vendor who's stuck in the past or present could jeopardize your company's future too. Be sure that your company's ERP implementation will be able to grow with and adapt not only to changes in your business but also to changes in the overall technology and business landscape, and continue to deliver innovation and value. Look for a vendor with a history of consistent product releases and technology advancements. Investing in software that's already aging, or that will soon be outdated, sets you up for costly rip-and-replace scenarios down the road. Ask to see each candidate's technology roadmap and challenge them on their ability to deliver it. Here are three specific things to look for:

  • Does the roadmap support new technologies, like cloud-based computing, that offer you flexibility and choice?
  • Does it roll out improvements in the way applications like ERP, customer relationship management (CRM), and other business productivity applications work together? This opens up potential benefits like improved efficiency and lower operating costs across your entire business.
  • Does it enhance the underlying technology platform that your ERP software runs on? This helps simplify application integration, so you can use and upgrade line-of-business software created by other vendors.

Choose a vendor that's an innovation leader, creating, refreshing, and consistently executing on a technology roadmap. It will help you turn your business vision into reality-and keep that vision on the forefront of new opportunity in the future.

Why Microsoft Dynamics ERP?

Microsoft invests billions of dollars each year on research and development, and Microsoft Dynamics customers benefit directly from this investment in multiple ways. For example, they enjoy freedom of choice in ERP deployment: on-premises, private cloud, public cloud, or a hybrid approach. Continuous refinement of the Microsoft platform (Windows and Microsoft .NET) benefits all Microsoft products and gives you flexibility in choosing line-of-business applications. Ongoing investment in the interoperability of products like Microsoft Office, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft SQL Server helps you boost employee productivity and manage costs across your business. And you can be assured of support for the version of Microsoft Dynamics you purchase for up to 10 years from its release (for more information, visit http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle). 

As a Microsoft Dynamics customer, you also have visibility into product life cycles and roadmaps, ongoing innovations, and Statements of Direction, which describe how Microsoft Dynamics solutions will evolve, twelve to eighteen months in advance of the next version releases. A strong and upfront product roadmap enables you to undertake your own IT planning with greater confidence. It offers visibility into the future that puts you in control of your technology plan, helping you to budget appropriately for deployment of product innovations.

Customer Stories

Take a moment to read how three customers are turning their business vision into reality with Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions.

EMIT Technologies: Emissions Solution Provider Stays Ahead of Competition with ERP Upgrade

Quint Wellington Redwood: Global IT Management Firm Gets International Connectivity Boost with ERP Upgrade

Spy Optic: Eyewear Company Easily Adopts and Gains Efficiency with Upgraded Business System

Next week we'll look at this question to help you evaluate ERP vendors you may be considering:

What is the vendor's customer churn rate and reputation for service after the sale?

In the meantime, register to attend the upcoming webcast: Outgrowing your entry-level accounting solution: Microsoft Dynamics ERP can help. And you can learn more about Microsoft Dynamics solutions for small and midsize businesses here.

Until next week,

Jen Dorsey