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Selecting the main dish is an important initial decision when entertaining guests for a dinner party. A carefully chosen entrée prepared to perfection sets the ambience of the evening and permeates conversations for days. More important than the selection of the dish is the careful selection of ingredients, recipe, and guests. A proven recipe, fresh ingredients, and enjoyable company ultimately turn spaghetti night into an impressive soiree.

Companies undergoing ERP selections must also focus on selecting the right ingredients to prepare for implementation. Selecting the optimal ERP is table stakes. The selection process should really focus on equipping the organization for the change that accompanies implementation. Sufficient implementation preparation during ERP selection increases the chances of a successful rollout.

In addition to selecting the ERP software, the selection process must include a recipe for the future, the right ingredients, and inviting the best people:

Follow a Recipe

A system selection serves as an opportunity to receive input from employees to formulate a recipe for the future. Encouraging feedback during selection prepares employees for the future state organization and gives them a stake in the decision-making process. Collectively developing an overall process improvement vision gives people visibility into the future process. Agreed upon future business processes can be a framework for scripted case demonstrations. The scripted use cases allow the key people in the organization to visualize the future. As processes are documented during selection, they can then be followed during implementation as test scenarios.

Pick the Ingredients

Outlining a robust plan for the ERP project during selection allows the organization to develop a realistic total cost of ownership (TCO) budget and a timeline for the ERP implementation. The potential system integrators (consultants) should be included in the budgeting discussions to produce an accurate implementation budget. Open discussion ensures that all ingredients are accounted for in every area of the organization, including travel, team space, training, internal resources, change management, hardware, and software.

Invite the Best People

System integration requires a team of internal employees to help design the system to fit company needs. The selection process gives insight to those most excited about the new solution. This helps leadership identify the best internal people to steer the implementation. Asking for employee involvement in producing the future state vision and selecting the ERP solution will result in greater acceptance throughout the organization.

A productive selection process is less about choosing the right system and more about preparing for implementation.

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