Much like implementing an ERP system, selecting an ERP system is not for the faint of heart. When the time comes for you to select an ERP system, it is necessary to remember that this process contains multiple steps, requires company buy-in, and ultimately demands significant attention.
Despite the challenges, selecting the right ERP system will reap many rewards for your company. Here are our guidelines on how to select the right ERP system for your organization.
What is an ERP System?
We view Enterprise Resource Planning as a philosophical approach to single-system software, with the term “ERP system” referring to the software itself. ERP systems are designed to help companies best utilize the resources that are available to them, which requires examining the entire spectrum of an organization’s business processes and identifying ways to improve these processes.
Make Sure You Know What You Are Looking For
Attempting to select an ERP system without fully understanding the needs and desires of your company is irresponsible, because it inevitably leads to loss of time and money — and it can violate the trust of users and stakeholders.
There are so many different software applications in the market today that ERP is not always a “one-and-done.” In many cases you won’t be able to buy a single application and roll it out across the whole company; it can also mean purchasing and integrating multiple applications and rolling them out across functional areas.
Plan for the End at the Beginning
Identifying pain points and establishing clear organizational goals for a new ERP system at the beginning of the selection process helps avoid preventable difficulties during the implementation. Remember that if you are unsure of why you are selecting an ERP system, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
Look to the Future
Software requires upgrades to be at its best, and upgrades cost money. So make sure to read the contract terms carefully, and don’t forget to include recurring software fees as part of the total cost of ownership. You need to be prepared to truly invest in the ERP system you select.
Your Team Matters
It is essential to put a good team together to select and implement your ERP system. The implementation partner doesn’t do all the work — your organization will need a project lead and a team to make it happen. Without buy-in, commitment, and cooperation from stakeholders, employees, vendors, and implementation partners, your ERP project will suffer.
Eliminate Problem Causers
Unfortunately, teams are burdened with individuals who are determined to see your ERP project fail. Such individuals will attempt to halt the project at any opportunity that is presented. The process of selecting an ERP system can become even more challenging than it already is when someone is working against your team. Don’t be afraid to remove personnel who are stopping the project from moving forward.
It is important that the end users of the software are consulted when determining the needs and desires of your ERP system. If the actual users of the new tools are unhappy with the selection, it is likely to breed dissent and disagreements with implementing the new software.
Choose a Good Implementation Partner
You will not only be selecting an ERP system; you’ll be selecting an implementation partner to trek alongside your company as you embark on your ERP journey. It is essential that you get to know your implementation partner as they are an integral part of a successful selection and implementation. For the duration of your ERP project, your implementation partner should be the best friend of your company.
Don’t choose an implementation partner that does not understand your business and your industry — experience is key! Choosing the wrong implementation partner could lead to a complete ERP failure, even if you chose the right system.
Ultimately, you are betting your job on your implementation partner, so you need to do everything in your ability to choose the best one.
The ERP world is huge. It is a seemingly endless array of vendors, platforms, and acronyms. However, there are practices to mitigate any feelings of confusion or discouragement.
Sometimes during software demonstrations, vendors get carried away with their presentations and fail to let you and your team engage with the software itself. Don’t forget that the software is what you’re there to see! You do not want to make a selection without understanding how the software works.
Along with this, require that vendors provide you with a roadmap. Just as it is important for you to know your strategy, it is important for your vendor to know their strategy, too.
Our Role in Your Project
ERP Advisors Group is working to remake the concept of ERP from that of a cookie-cutter, single-system solution, to a philosophical approach that helps an organization confront its pain points and risk areas with software that is uniquely suited for its requirements and needs.
It is the choice of vendors and implementation partners to only show you what they want you to see. Vetting software and vetting software vendors is our job, and we do everything we can to protect our clients from an ERP disaster. We work for our clients, never for vendors. Always remember our best advice: don’t switch ERP software unless you absolutely must.