Three Tips for Successful ERP Selection

In this video, Shawn Windle, the Founder and Managing Principal of ERP Advisors Group and expert ERP consultant, discusses some of the most important factors for ensuring the success of an ERP software selection project.

Three Tips for Successful ERP Selection

At this point in the process, you know your business can be improved with a new software solution. However, there are many things you need to keep in mind to reach a successful ERP implementation. 

Know Your Needs

First and foremost, you must know what results you want at the end of the implementation. You cannot create a roadmap to reach the right solution without knowing what you will need to get there. Do you want great reports? What about business process automation? Or business intelligence? Whatever you think the software will be able to improve, write it down! Once your needs are documented, make sure they and their role in the future of your business are understood.

With this in place, you should gather your core team and communicate the needs to key players who will be impacted by the software the most. This is an opportunity to collaborate, ensuring they are understood and agreed upon by the group. 

Know Your Solution Type

Now that your needs are identified, you must look at the type of software solution your business will need. Businesses do not just upgrade their ERPs; they upgrade or integrate other solutions across all departments. Many need new financial systems, while others need reporting tools or maybe the solution they have is too complicated to continue to maintain. Regardless, you need to take a close look at the types of solutions in the marketplace for what you are trying to solve.

Whether it is financials, corporate performance management, budgeting and planning, or industry-specific requirements like inventory or warehouse management, the identification of the solution type will guide your path forward. Armed with this knowledge, you can start calling ERP software vendors that offer that type of software. 

Know Your Partners

Finally, you must pay attention to the implementation people who are going to be running your project. This might be the vendor’s internal implementation team, an implementation partner, or industry specialists, but whoever it is, you should get to know them very well. Why? Because when there is a problem during your implementation, which there will be, you need to be able to call your partner, anytime, day or night. Developing a relationship with a VP or SVP who is important enough to make change happen if your project is in need is especially helpful. Additionally, you need to ensure that the lead person on your project is committed to your success. With all these pieces in place, any problem you have during your implementation can be worked through. 


ERP selection can feel daunting but with the right plans in place, you can ensure that you choose the right solution, every time. Are you struggling with an ERP selection? Download the “Questions to Ask an ERP Vendor” guide, below!


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I wanted to talk to you today about some really important factors that I want you to keep in mind as you're doing a software selection project. 

And these “nuggets, if you will, are based off of a lot of projects, hundreds of projects over the years, over 100 years of experience with all of our folks that are on board. 

And honestly, that we care about you, you're doing this project most likely because you believe that your company can be improved through the use of new software, and that's awesome. There's no doubt that it can, but please keep these three things in mind. You're going through your software selection process, and they're going to improve your odds of success drastically. 

So the first thing is really take a look at what it is you want to have at the end of the implementation. So keep the end in mind at the beginning. It sounds a little cliche, but it's really important 

Once the software is in place, what reports do you want? What kind of business processes are you looking to automate? Business intelligence, any kind of Analytics — whatever it is that you think software can do for you, I want you to identify those very, very clearly. Just put them on a piece of paper and bullet them. Maybe it's three points. Maybe it's 5, maybe it's 10. I don't care, just write them down and work them, and make sure they're well understood by you. 

And then I want you to communicate them to your colleagues and to the key folks that are going to be impacted by the software the most. Once they're understood by the whole group and agreed to, you're already 90% of the way there, I promise. 

The second thing I want you to really take a look at is what is the type of software solution that you need for your business. Now what I mean is sometimes with a simple example. 

You need a financial system. You've grown, and QuickBooks or even a bigger application just doesn't meet your needs, or you have a large enterprise application that's too complex and it's just not filling your reporting needs. Whatever it is, take a real close look at the types of solutions that are in the marketplace for what you were trying to solve. 

So it might be a financials application. It might be a corporate performance management, or our budgeting and planning tool that you need. It could even be a system that works across your entire business. So not just accounting and finance, but maybe projects or inventory or warehouse management that you need really take a look at across the software solution types that are in the industry. And determine which type is going to work for you, and then start calling the vendors that offer that type of software. 

Now the third point is the most important thing as part of a software selection. And the funny part is, it's not about the software. You have to pay attention to the implementation folks that are going to do your project. So that could be that the software vendor has an implementation team as part of their overall company. 

It could be that there is a partner that just does implementations with that software solution. There could even be some industry folks that know your industry really well and use specific software. I don't care who it is. What I care about is that you get to know them and you get to know them very well. So well, in fact, that you feel comfortable calling them anytime, day or night, if there's a problem with the implementation. And I mean the owner or the VP or the SVP. Somebody that's high up in that organization, that one phone call from them can change things on your implementation team. It's really, really, really important that you have that lead person that's bought into your project and has put a personal commitment on your success. 

Because if you have that, every problem that you run into on the implementation — and there will be problems — can get worked through. So hopefully with these three tips your selection is going to go really well, and if there's anything that ERP Advisors could do, please click on our contact us button up above and we're here to help. Thank you.