Last week’s blog post, When Is It Time to Replace or Rejuvenate Your ERP System?, discussed the feasibility of updating or upgrading an existing ERP system rather than starting afresh with an entirely new solution. This week? We explore the decision-making process a little further with some key questions to ask of yourself and your organization at the beginning of your discovery process.

What’s going on at my company? If your company is in the midst of great change already (e.g., a merger, acquisition, expansion, restructuring, etc.) then it’s probably not the best time to embark on an overhaul of your ERP system. While your technological situation may seem (and may indeed be) desperate, you must take into account the importance of stability to your clients, staff and organization overall. An ERP switchover can, for a time, create an enormously unstable environment. Make sure all your other ducks are in a row before adding another iron to the fire.

What’s going on in my industry? Is your industry going through significant changes due to new technology or regulations? Have your customers moved from being in-store to being online? How is your organization’s strategy evolving to deal with it? If your industry is in major upheaval, it’s probably best to let the dust settle before trying to anticipate all the as-yet-unseen changes that your new ERP system will have to handle. Waiting out the pandemonium also gives you the opportunity to check out what your competitors are doing and how they’re reacting to the changes.

How much dough do we have? ERP systems are expensive, to say the least. The good news is that, with the advent of software as a service (SaaS) options, the time seems nigh when customers will be able to download applications rather than outlaying cash on licenses. Even better news? The ERP big guns are responding by offering long-term financing options to make investing in their products more feasible to cash-strapped organizations. At the moment, the ball is truly in the buyer’s court . . . but, as they say, there’s a big difference between saving money and not spending money. Which one benefits your business more?

How’s our staff? A new ERP system demands enormous involvement by everybody at your organization, not just the IT department. Have your people lost trust in management decision? Are they fleeing whenever a new opportunity comes knocking? Are they supportive of corporate decisions and excited to embrace change or behind-the-scenes underminers who will stop at nothing to derail a new initiative? Spend some time in the trenches, convene focus groups, ask questions and listen for it arguably is your people, more than any other one factor, who will affect the overall success of the initiative.

This decision is not an easy one. The lure of new technology, the fear of being left behind, the excitement of stirring the pot — all of those factors can be seductive. But when you’re struggling with the question of “Should we or shouldn’t we?”, the first place to start isn’t with ERP vendors, it’s with an honest internal audit of where you are as a company, where you’re going and who’s coming with you. If you’d like to find out more, call our ERP consultants. We offer honest, independent advice for organizations struggling with these same issues. We’ve been there before and we can help.

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