Are you looking for the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) choice for your business?
We have a ton of experience, with over 400 ERP-solution implementations throughout the US – and from that, we’ve learned some things. In this post, we have some insightful information to share, combing through our wealth of knowledge, to give you some pointers on finding the right fit.
First, let’s offer a few tips on what NOT to do:
- Don’t forget future processes (after the new system is installed) when you’re defining user requirements.
- Don’t depend on the vendor’s generic demo.
- Don’t disregard the importance of the customer support package you purchase with your solution.
- Don’t leave the choice in the hands of one person or one department.
- Don’t work with a vendor lacking prior experience of your specific industry.
Now, with the “bad” out of the way, let’s jump into what you SHOULD do in order to have a successful ERP selection.
- Be thorough in your review and analysis. Begin with current business processes. Define them. Document them. Where are there pain points? In what areas do you excel? Now, ask yourself how processes will change after implementing a new solution. Document those possible changes. Once you have these written up, think of them as your requirements list to show vendors. You’re not looking for a solution to do what you’ve already done. You’re looking to optimize and excel in what you do.
- Request specific demonstrations. Every time you approach a vendor, the easy thing is to look for a demo video on their website, but these are vague and, obviously, general. Instead, put together a request to send to each vendor asking for a demonstration relevant to your business. Be aware, though, that this is demanding some good, upfront work from a vendor, so request it with respect and remember this helpful information from Wikipedia’s article on choosing an ERP: “it is imperative that vendors are treated equally in requests for demonstrations and it is incumbent on the company to identify sufficient demonstrations that will allow a proper decision to be made but will also ensure that vendors do not opt out of the selection process due to the extent of preparation required.” Or in a less wordy way: respect the amount of work required to customize a demo and show your gratitude.
- Review the type of support that comes with your purchase. Finding the best fit for your company will depend on in-house technical expertise and whether you feel that you’ll need mostly upfront support or long-term help. Ask vendors for other customer names so you can contact them and ask questions about how the customer support has been both during and after implementation.
- Involve all personnel to some extent. The purpose of an ERP is to manage important parts of the business, tying them all together. You must include people in all areas of your business so that you ensure the choice is a fit for all departments.
- Choose a vendor with the right experience. ERP solutions are tailored to specific industries. Did you know that even specific solutions (like Acumatica, the cloud ERP) have versions that are specific to certain industries (like Acumatica Construction Edition for Residential Construction: Homebuilders). If you can work with a vendor that has experience in your specific industry, they’ll understand the tailored solutions better for you.
If you have questions about the best fit for your business, contact us today. We can hook you up with the best products, services and practices necessary to automate your business, along with a strong emphasis on customer service.