Selecting the right ERP should never be mystical or accidental. There is an exact methodology for ERP software selection, and it starts with identifying the pain points and limitations to growth that could be negatively affecting your business.
Then you need to ask yourself and your stakeholders, “What kind of software solutions would we need in order to solve these pain points?” You could look at the functionality of different ERP systems to see if they work with your processes, for example.
It almost feels too obvious: find out what is broken so you can fix it, right? It seems simple until you realize that you don’t know where to begin. Unfortunately, there are far too many software options and far too many vendors for those who are unacquainted with enterprise software.
While the easiest route is to hire a consultant, we can tell you that there are six software selection criteria we use in our ERP selections to identify the correct vendor for our clients:
- Application Usability & Functionality
- Technology Platform
- Software Vendor Fit
- Implementation Resources
- Gut Feel
We provide an in-depth review of ERP software selection criteria elsewhere, but in this article we’ll touch on each of them briefly.
Application Usability & Functionality: Of everything listed here, we feel this is the most important criterion for an ERP software selection. If the software isn’t easy to use, and it doesn’t do what you need it to, the rest of these criteria are immediately irrelevant.
Technology Platform: Determine how robust your finalists are by looking at how well they integrate with over tools. Does the out-of-the-box configuration suffice? And if you need customization, will you have access to developer tools to get what you need? Also consider the quality of support available to your users.
Cost: There are a lot of variables to consider with pricing. You may not know what modules, integrations, customizations, or third-party solutions could be needed. Determine high-level pricing first, but don’t get stuck on it — use it as a final differentiator when you are picking your finalist. And don’t forget that a cheaper solution can become exponentially more expensive if you outgrow it within two to three years. (It happens frequently, unfortunately.)
Software Vendor Fit: Smaller firms tend to offer industry-specific feature functionality, while larger companies provide the peace of mind of a track record with thousands of satisfied customers. The best fit should become apparent as you approach the end of your selection.
Implementation Resources: This should be a key differentiator in home stretch of your ERP software selection. Examine how well the implementation resources understand your unique requirements, especially customizations or integrations. Make sure to note how engaged they have been, and how easy it has been to reach them.
Gut Feel: Sometimes you just have to trust in yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your judgment to make the right decision. But don’t make the mistake of ignoring the other ERP software selection criteria, or giving this one more importance than the others.
And finally, even if after all of this you still aren’t sure what to choose, contact us to discuss ERP system selection criteria. We can provide unbiased and independent guidance to help you find the right software for your needs.