When done properly, ERP software selection is often a daunting task. From gathering requirements to sorting through RFP responses to actually trying to decipher ERP vendor sales speak, the road to ERP success is long, complicated and unfortunately fraught with risk. The wrong ERP system can cost time, revenue and jobs so it is incredibly important to pursue the selection process with focus and determination. Following are some ERP software selection tips and techniques that Panorama has determined over our years in the ERP business:
- Make sure the right resources are on the job. ERP selection is not the time to cut corners or overestimate your own (or your team’s) expertise. If the folks tasked with determining which ERP vendor, package and deployment option are ERP novices or aren’t backfilled appropriately, then get an independent third-party firm to do the heavy lifting.
- Make sure the right requirements are gathered. Requirements gathering is both an art and a science. Workshops, employee surveys and executive validation all are important steps in the process of defining and documenting the specific needs of your business. Pay particular attention to those processes that bring competitive advantage as those are the ones that will likely necessitate ERP customization.
- Make sure the ERP vendors demonstrate against your company’s specific requirements. A canned sales pitch with a little industry jargon thrown in may dazzle the senses, but if the vendors haven’t specifically tailored their presentations to your company and its needs then your team will never be able to make the right determination. Don’t ever forget that salespeople earn money by selling you a system; ERP consultants earn money by making sure you buy the right system.
- Make sure to analyze the software against those requirements. Don’t rest on your laurels after the requirements gathering and software demos. The only true way to find the right software is to objectively and comprehensively cataloguing the software’s strengths and weaknesses against your company’s requirements. (Be sure to include everyone who participated in the demos in the discussions and analyses as this creates the buy-in and accountability necessary for future success.)
- Make sure to call in those references! Spend time talking to (and visiting) organizations using the software that are both a similar size to yours and larger than yours. While it might be impossible to speak to a direct competitor about the benefits and drawbacks of their ERP software, the vendor should be able to point you in the direction of a comprable company that has been using the software for a good period of time (typically three or more years).
This list of “make sures” are just the beginning of a well-run ERP software selection process. To learn more about how Panorama conducts these engagements, visit our PERFECT Fit ERP Selection Methodology page. Also be sure to check out our ERP Vendor Database for information, reviews and news about all of the major ERP vendors.