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At Panorama, we meet with plenty of organizations interested in implementing or upgrading to a comprehensive ERP system. Whether they’ve grown through acquisition and amassed a number of disparate legacy systems or they’ve never had the time or resources to implement ERP software in the first place, they nonetheless have come to the realization that ERP is something they need to move forward, remain competitive and increase profitability.

But are they right? Yes, of course . . . in a way. There’s no question that an ERP system can bring many, many advantages to an organization but only if it’s implemented correctly. If it’s not, ERP software can be the “money pit” of organizational investments — a sponge that sucks up cash, time and resources and never gives back anything in return. So when companies are determining whether or not they need to implement or upgrade ERP software, what they’re really determining is whether or not they — as organizations — are ready to do the hard work needed to make the project a success initially and for years to come. Anyone can see the benefits an ERP system could or should bring; it’s much more difficult to take the responsibility of determining and achieving those benefits and, unfortunately, this is where many companies fail. It probably goes without saying that the added pressure of ERP vendors promising the world doesn’t help companies come to this determination any easier. Following are eight critical questions to ask of yourself — and your organization — prior to even beginning ERP software selection:

1. Do we have a specific vision for what we want this ERP system to facilitate for the organization?

2. Do we have the leadership to develop and communicate this vision?

3. Do we have the personnel resources to achieve this vision?

4. Do we know enough about what our company really needs to effectively assess ERP software packages and deployment options?

5. Do we know enough about ERP vendors and offerings to negotiate the right solution for our company?

6. Do we have realistic timeline and budget expectations?

7. Do we have an organizational change management strategy in place to ensure alignment and buy-in within the company?

8. Are we ready to hire the consultants necessary to make the ERP project successful?

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can ignore any of of these questions. They (and the answers, of course) all are integral to ERP success and should be considered long before inviting any ERP vendors to the party. If you are uncertain about how to analyze the answers you discover, or what they truly mean to your organization and its ERP implementation, contact us today. We can help your organization achieve the benefits it wants and needs from its ERP system.

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