Learn More: ERP Configuration

Posted by Harshit Mehta, Extensions Consultant on June 4, 2013

Is your ERP configurable?

“Yes, of course”, all ERP systems are configurable. However, there are some questions worth considering before you buy ERP licenses:

  • To what extent can you configure ERP to suit your continuously changing business?
  • How easily can you change the configuration?
  • Can you do it yourself? Or do you need post-sales support from your ERP vendor?
  • What is average turnaround time of your ERP vendor’s customer support team?

This article aims to give you a better understanding of ERP configuration and should also help you to ask the right questions of your vendor when buying an ERP system.

Why is ERP configuration necessary?

In an ideal world, we would expect that the initial setup of your ERP system will be more than sufficient to suit all of your business needs, but the reality is that it can be very difficult to achieve this right from the outset. There are many factors which might trigger the need to reconfigure the way you use your ERP system e.g. a new business strategy, profit and growth, mergers and acquisitions, new end-users, restructuring your teams for better productivity or simply improving user experience. All of these factors directly influence the way that you use your ERP system.

Having the ability to change the configuration of your system easily as your business needs change is a real plus for any ERP system and it can be (and probably should be) a deciding factor when selecting an ERP system for your Organisation. Many ERP system administrators prefer to have full control of their system so that they can adapt to their changing business needs. Some of our customers also have a dedicated in-house team for ERP administration. But in both cases, it is important that they can change configurable elements themselves.

What is ERP configuration?

Configuration is not just about setting a few system parameters at initial installation. Maintaining and updating your system at regular intervals is an equally important aspect of a successful ERP implementation. Generally, the list of configurable ERP items should include:

  • Global system parameters
  • Company-specific configurations
  • User / group / role based configurations
  • Access levels and security management
  • Approval hierarchies for functional areas like expense sheet, vendor invoice, purchase order etc.
  • Screen layouts and workflow management
  • Number series
  • Standard templates for entities such as Employees, Jobs etc.

Configuring these items to suit the needs of your business is essential to ensure ease-of-use as well as flexibility to adapt to changes within your business.

Who can help with ERP configuration?

Some organisations prefer to outsource ERP maintenance or services to external vendors for a number of reasons. For example, if they do not have enough resources or skills, or simply because they prefer to focus on their core business. If you choose to outsource your ERP support and maintenance, it is very important to assess the customer care services of an ERP vendor and check their turn-around time in case you have to contact their team in future.

ERP configuration: Do it yourself

ERP configuration does not necessarily require external vendor support. You can also choose to train your in-house team for ERP configuration changes. Some ERP systems require extensive knowledge of the system framework and programming language in order to change basic system parameters. However, others are flexible enough to give you user interfaces for such configuration changes. For example, Deltek Maconomy supports DIY configuration with user-friendly screens and provides quick setup guidelines.