AWWA had worked with ERP Advisors Group previously with an evaluation, selection, and implementation; however, I had not worked with Shawn or ERP Advisors Group myself, but I had known about them through FEI Colorado and through the Denver market.
When it came time for us to undergo our most recent project, it made sense that ERP Advisors Group was what we were looking for. This time they helped us with scoping and evaluating and choosing a selection for the new ERP system we are going into.
Our previous software was a general ledger system and was really old, like almost 20 years old. It basically took all our subsystems and posted it into one place for financial reporting. It didn’t give details, it didn’t give analysis, and it was two dimensional, which created a whole host of issues. Also, the software was on premises and was not going to be supported much longer. There were just a multitude of reasons we needed to switch to a new ERP system, and the complexity of it all is really why we needed a partner to help us.
We made our ERP system selection and have already been working with the implementation partner and are down the path about two months in with our new software choice. ERP Advisors Group helped very much with aligning meetings, the vendors, and getting everything lined up that took a lot of work off our staff, which was a big help.
ERP Advisors Group introduced us to our implementation partner. They are in the nonprofit space, and they have resources in a lot of different areas. They already seem to be really good and connected with our staff, which I think will be very helpful.
At the beginning of the selection process, we could have flipped a coin between two different software choices, but we needed to go through the evaluation process with an independent source to get buy in from staff and for my executive team. The problem with ERP systems is it touches the whole organization, but everybody assumes it's just an accounting or an IT project and so we needed to make sure there was buy in so that employees couldn’t say hey this is the system you chose, it's not our system, it's your system.
There's so much complexity out there and you don't want to just listen to the salespeople that push their product. Otherwise, most people would end up with a generic ERP system that is not the best product for them, just because they had the best salespeople. It was good to have the support and transparency of an advisor while we went through our evaluation. It gave us a good appearance of independence, regardless of how big of a landscape of choices that are out there.
There's probably a few midsize, a few large size, a few small size systems that are good, but just being able to have an independent party run a process that gets you to an answer is helpful.
Solutions wise, we knew about our options, but the partners ERP Advisors Group brought to the table were the people that they had reached out to. They were all new and they probably wouldn't have made our radar had we done this on our own. We would have focused more local, but we wouldn't necessarily have had them in the sphere of contacts or connections.
We liked having the structure that ERP Advisor Group provided. We didn't have to round up all the people to get online and do demonstrations and it really helped from an administrative standpoint. That was probably the biggest help to us, specifically getting the people lined up, the vendors lined up, and our staff lined up. That made it very seamless. We also didn't have to do the disruptive work of having somebody on our staff wrangle the people into place which was very helpful.
Shawn and Erica are great, but really, everybody we've met with was good to work with. I think that's important; I think personality wise, matching your client to your delivery person is good practice. I would definitely use ERP Advisors Group for this process in the future because they got us to a point where we were able to select something and have a good, documented process that showed how we got there versus one executive choosing a system or somebody simply selling the company something.