Letting a five year old child loose in a candy store produces surprising results. The five year old quickly becomes overwhelmed by the choices. After wandering through the store the child will randomly choose candy on the way out. This candy will not be completely eaten and will most likely be described as “yucky”.
It is common for companies to select their ERP in a similar manner. Without control, the initial excitement of identifying a large number of options quickly turns into an overwhelming chore. After countless meetings and vendor demonstrations the vendor who presented last is selected. The implementation starts off a little rocky and gets worse later in the project when the team is surprised with critical requirements that were over looked during the selection. The wrong ERP solution was selected. Yucky!
How can an organization select the right ERP? It is all about quickly short listing options, focusing on critical functionality, involving the right people in demonstrations and using a simple scoring method:
- Quickly Short list the Options. There are a large number of ERP and ERP-like systems available in the market. For most organizations, the safest strategy is to limit the selection to solutions provided by known vendors including Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. At time, industry specific ERP solutions may be considered. Trenegy has developed an online survey tool to identify a short list of ERP solutions for any organization. Click here to access the tool.
- Request Use Case-based Demonstrations. Most established ERP solutions provide similar functionality; therefore, it is important to focus on how the alternatives support critical business process requirements. Detailed use cases with supporting documents need to be developed and given to the software vendors. The demonstrations should focus on ease of use, support for critical business needs and reporting. “Add-ons” or “bolt-ons” should not be discounted and will often be required to support specialized requirements. ERP solutions rarely do it all. The level of integration required for these solutions needs to be carefully considered.
- Involve the Right People. Hearing “I was not involved in the ERP selection….you should have picked the other solution…” from a key stakeholder in an implementation project meeting is deflating. The ERP selection process should be considered as the starting point for critical change management activities. Getting the right people involved early and often creates demand for the new system and increases support for the project as a whole. Expanded team involvement can often help plug holes in the use cases and can validate whether the new system will support the business requirements.
- Use a Simple Scoring Method. A new ERP is a significant investment typically requiring approval by senior management and the board. A simple scoring approach consisting of total cost of ownership, support for critical functionality, technical fit and a subjective ranking can be four simple criteria used to select the right option. Many companies use complicated scoring methods. However, the final selection usually boils down to how the team “felt” about the ERP options.
Trenegy helps companies successfully select the right ERP using a simple approach supported by proprietary tools. We help our clients get value of out their new system quickly and relatively painlessly. Read how to properly prepare for implementing the ERP in: Preparing for an ERP Implementation… Reducing the Pain!