There are a lot of moving parts, lots of opinions, and a lot of money at stake when organizations go through the selection and implementation of a new ERP system. IT departments often lead the ERP initiative, even though we know that a well-executed ERP project involves so much more than just selecting the right software and to some extent, involves the entire organization.
In human nature, “influences” come into play in all decisions, and ERP projects are no different, so watch out for these three things:
1. Software Prejudice
If your IT department is steering the boat, they may already have preconceived notions about ERP software options. Maybe it’s because they are familiar with a software, they are currently using a version of a specific software, or maybe they’ve been influenced by others who have had successes or preferences. IT people are like car buffs, if one loves the Ford Mustang and another loves the Chevrolet Camaro, never shall the two meet. They are convincing in their opinions and steadfast in their convictions…sometimes to a fault. I say drive a Dodge Demon right between them.
It takes tremendous diligence and time to comprehend the vast number of ever-changing software choices and versions. You just might want to consider supplementing your knowledge with an independent resource or consultant who has experience in your industry. Finding different software options and evaluating them through fresh lenses isn’t easy. Software vendors are typically very talented relationship builders. They are sometimes more likely to tell you what you want to hear instead of what you need to know.
Bottom line, it takes discipline and time to subject yourself to the rigor of exploring known and unknown software solutions without prejudice, so relying on unbiased advice is probably wise.
2. Cloud vs. On-Premise
These are two of the most prevalent solutions, but not the only ones. You will encounter big time vendor prejudice (read influence) in this arena. Is one better than the other? Is one safer than the other? Once again, your own IT staff will have their opinions too. Double biases, oh my!
So now, not only do you have to pick the right software but also decide how to host it. Well this due diligence thing is getting tricky. Defining your business requirements and analyzing pros and cons is a start, but doesn’t necessarily lead you to the best conclusion. And just FYI, Cloud vs. On-premise solutions need not be mutually exclusive. The right answer might just be a combination of both. Hybrid solutions are another variation on cloud technology, but your software vendor probably won’t be the one suggesting this option.
3. Evaluating cost
ERP projects can often be expensive. However, when they are done right, there is little argument that they can make ordinary companies into extraordinary ones. If I told you that 13 years ago, such a big investment in technology would yield a new car company able to compete with Mercedes-Benz and BMW, would you have believed me? I’m talking about Tesla, a company not only capable of competing with segment leaders but also in the position of expanding to new industries. Now they are making solar roofing shingles that make the more traditional solar roof panels look like antiques.
This relates to your ERP project how? You will have an internal bias to try to contain costs and time or (for many of you) match a predetermined budget. Think bigger. Measure your ERP investment as a percentage of ROI. In a sense, this is one of those situations where you get what you pay for, so defend what you need to spend and don’t feel guilty about it.
Don’t put your ERP project at risk, get rid of preconceived ideas and find the advice of an expert before you make any decision. It could make the difference between a big success or an epic failure.