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So you want to make your competitors jealous, eh? Nothing wrong with that. When it comes to digital transformation, it’s smarter to be an early adopter than a laggard. But you can’t stay ahead of the curve by rushing through the selection process – you can only win if you conduct a slow and steady assessment of all your strategic options.

Here are six high-level steps to conducting an ERP selection that will help your organization find very enviable enterprise software:

1. Develop a Long List

SaaS, cloud, on premise, best of breed, single ERP and a host of other options make the selection process overwhelming. You can keep it simple by eliminating most ERP vendors based on your business requirements and budgetary needs. In general, your organization should aim for a long list of no more than six to eight ERP software vendors.

2. Develop a Short List

Your organization’s business requirements can be divided into several categories, the most essential being “deal-breaker” requirements. These requirements should guide you in selecting three to four software vendors for your short list.

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SAP and Oracle both invest heavily in cloud technology. However, our client was skeptical about cloud scalability and unsure if the products were mature and proven.

3. Conduct a Detailed Analysis of Your Short-List Vendors

Your organization should ensure that each of your short-list vendors specifically addresses your “deal-breaker” requirements while demonstrating their product. Creating a demo script is essential if you want to compare apples-to-apples. In addition to arranging software demos, your organization should issue a request for proposal to each short-list vendor so they can outline their costs, software capabilities and proposed implementation strategy.

4. Involve Key Stakeholders in the Evaluation Process

Throughout the demonstration process, key employees should share their input through quantitative assessments. In particular, employees should evaluate how well each product’s functionality addresses your organization’s key business requirements.

5. Assess Each Vendor’s Technical Capabilities

The project team and key stakeholders also should evaluate items such as vendor scalability and ease of integration. These technical factors may or may not weigh as heavily as your functional business requirements.

6. Make a Decision

Your organization should use the input from the various assessments to prioritize each vendor’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to your business needs.

Easier said than done, right? Well, it’s never easy leading the pack. That’s why many organizations rely on an independent third party to facilitate communication and contract negotiations with ERP vendors. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find an independent consultant who’ll be there for you through your entire project – from implementation to go-live and beyond.

Now, you just need to make your competitors jealous of your innovative, energized company culture. Their change-resistant, sleep-deprived employees will wish their employer had invested in as much organizational change management as your organization.