Finding a reliable enterprise resource planning provider is just as important as choosing the right kind of system to meet business needs.

If the company installing the software that will be the backbone of a company's operational tracking abilities isn't up to the task, there will be problems from the onset. However, organizations with ERP needs can seek out best-in-class partners to collaborate with on devising unique, effective solutions. When a top provider is selected, the implementation and training processes and the initial and continued use of the software become positive experiences.

Avoid the problems of a less than stellar implementation
Recently, Aviat Networks, an equipment manufacturer focused on microwave-based communications, faced significant ERP woes due to poor planning and implementation. Computer World reported that the company's problems with their system led to a delay in filing its quarterly earnings report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Although the delay didn't result in any sort of sanction or penalty – an extension was requested – it still reflects negatively on the company, driving down morale and reducing the confidence of employees, investors and other stakeholders. This situation highlights the need for businesses to carefully vet their ERP providers and  make sure they know what they need out of the software.

For companies in the manufacturing and fabrication industries, the varied and unique needs of a business can make the use of an all-in-one ERP system a difficult proposition. Matching organizational needs with system requirements is easier with a modular system like Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Top providers of configurable systems can work with prospective purchasers, helping them determine exactly what level of sophistication and functionality is required for each module. This reduces unneeded expenses and drives the creation of an optimized system.

A few indicators of best-in-class providers
Aberdeen Group's research into the methods and traits of the best companies offering ERP reveals a few indicators that organizations can use in the selection process. An emphasis on integrating all business practices into a single, holistic system is one mark of a great provider. This means that the data from sales, customer service, manufacturing and warehousing can all be combined, creating greater possibilities for increasing efficiency.

The ability to provide a platform for collaborative efforts in real time is another quality commonly held by great ERP developers, highlighted by Aberdeen.