We regularly work with clients who want nothing more to do with their current ERP software solution. The system is old and outdated, it hasn’t been upgraded in years, it no longer supports evolving business needs, and the employees hate it. So, the last thing companies in this situation would want to do is consider keeping this system during an ERP selection process, right?
Not so fast – you may want to take your finger off the trigger and look through all your options before committing to such a big change. There are a number of advantages to at least considering your current ERP vendor before committing to an entirely new ERP system:
- Problems often relate to business processes and organizational change management, not the software. More often than not, the software is not the problem. Challenges are usually more associated with misaligned or ineffective business processes, which an ERP system isn’t going to fix without some business process re-engineering. In addition, employees often don’t adequately understand how to use the system’s functionality, another aspect that the software isn’t going to automatically address. These are variables that often point to a troubled implementation rather than a troubled software solution.
- Upgrading the ERP software package can often provide immediate business improvements. Most ERP vendors make several enhancements throughout any given year, so if you are even just a year behind on upgrades, you may be missing out on key functionality that may address your current challenges or pain points. An upgrade may address many of the concerns end-users have with the current system.
- Several major software vendors have acquired other enterprise or point solutions, expanding your suite of options. ERP vendors such as Oracle, Infor, and Sage have achieved growth through acquisitions over the years, so your current vendor may have products in their portfolio that you are not aware of. In addition to core ERP software offerings, many vendors are acquiring and integrating advanced point solutions that could extend the functionality of your current ERP system.
- An upgrade can yield potential cost savings compared to a replacement. The cost of keeping you as a customer is lower than the cost of a competing ERP vendor winning your business, so your current vendor may have more flexibility to negotiate software licenses, maintenance, and upgrade costs. In addition, because your organization is familiar with the current system and has likely developed competencies to support the software, there may be initial and ongoing cost advantages to keeping the current solution in place.
- Considering your current ERP vendor as a viable option provides more negotiating leverage. Other vendors competing to win your business will know that you don’t have to switch solutions to move to a modern ERP system, so they are more likely to reduce their costs when there is viable competition from an incumbent. They will also understand that the potential cost savings to you and your organization will create barriers to a new option, encouraging them to be more aggressive in their pricing.
Obviously you don’t want to go through the motions or waste anyone’s time if the current ERP vendor is clearly not going to get the job done in the long-term. However, we have found that most organizations tend to prematurely rule out their current ERP vendor when they may in fact be good options. An objective and independent ERP selection process will help determine whether your current ERP vendor or other solutions are the right fit for your organization.