Selecting the right ERP software is a challenging task, and School ERP is no exception. Given the effort involved in implementing an Educational ERP and the associated costs, the selection process must indeed be thorough to avoid any disappointments or unwarranted cost overheads at a later date. While it is simply common sense to select a School ERP that best matches the educational institution’s process requirements and budget, there are quite a few other factors that need attention.
Here are few broad guidelines for School ERP selection
- Assess the need
With School ERP kind of becoming a necessity rather than good to have tool, assessing its need can seem superfluous. However, it does add clarity in terms of what the educational institution aims to achieve by investing in an ERP. Identifying and defining the need, purpose or objective sets the search in the right direction.
- Analyze Requirements and Constraints
Next step would be to define or rather detail the requirements. What are all the processes or functions that need to be automated using the ERP? Are there any limitations or constraints in the existing systems or manual processes that need to be addressed?
Working on these basic queries will shed more light on what to look for in a School ERP.
- Enumerate Selection Criteria
Getting a clear picture of the problem areas or requirements that need to be addressed helps with selection criteria definition which can be used to shortlist and compare School ERPs.
ERPs qualify for short listing only if they meet the selection criteria.
Another important thing to note is that ERPs which make it to the list must meet most of the requirements without customizations. A 100% match is rare though!
- Shortlist Vendors and Request Demo
Different vendors may deal in the same School ERP. Decide on the vendor based on a recommendation, clientele or reviews from trustworthy sources. Requesting a Demo is a must to understand the practical application of the software in daily life.
Product demo is also a great way to experience the visual aesthetics and ease of use and also quickly draw parallels between the daily processes and the features of the software.
This is a good time to getting basic concerns and queries answered also find ways to bridge any glaring gaps in process mapping.
- Ascertain Flexibility and Scalability
When investing in a School ERP implementation, it is important to make certain that the benefits of the exercise are sustainable. Opting for scalable and flexible software ensures that any changes in the scope or type of existing operations such adding new courses or classes, changes in admission /hiring process are adequately addressed without another bout of heavy spending.
- Check Out Security/Backup Recovery Option
Checking out the measures related to secured access, data storage, backup and timely recovery from data disasters if any are a must to ensure smooth operations
- Evaluate Training and Support Services
Technology introduction in education must be heavily supported by training and customer services at least during initial stages. The confidence and comfort levels of end users determine the success of the ERP implementation.
- Work Out Costs and Benefits
Last but not the least, thoroughly compare the features of different School ERP products, unearth and analyze any hidden costs in terms of licensing and software upgrades etc. and assess the possible return of investments over time before signing up for the ERP implementation
Traditional Vs cloud based ERP, different implementation types and costs etc. must also be factored into the selection process. Ideally establishing a cross-functional team to work on selection of a suitable School ERP helps to better define the expectations and requirements of all stakeholders, and evaluate the product accordingly.
If some functions of the educational institution are already computerized, make sure that the new School ERP is compatible with the existing system(s) and can be integrated seamlessly to centralize operations without any redundancies.