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.
It’s common for companies to select an ERP or accounting system 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 overlooked during selection. The wrong ERP solution was selected!
How can an organization select the right ERP? It’s 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 on 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 times, 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. Contact us to access the tool.
Request Use Case Demonstrations
Most established ERP solutions provide similar functionality. Therefore, it’s important to focus on how the alternatives support critical business process requirements. Detailed use cases with supporting documents should 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 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 plug holes in the use cases and validate if 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 used to select the right option. Many companies use complicated scoring methods. In those cases, the final selection usually boils down to how the team felt about the ERP options.
Trenegy helps companies successfully select the right ERP or accounting system using a simple approach supported by proprietary tools. We help our clients get value of out their new system quickly and relatively painlessly.