Selecting the right ERP system for your business is no easy task. With so many options in the marketplace there can be a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. But selecting the right or wrong ERP system will have an impact on your business for years to come so it is important to make sure things work well.
Selecting the right ERP for your business comes down to knowing your requirements and business goals. The system you select should support your aims and processes within your business. And the best way to get that system is by having a clear plan in place.
Below, we give you some key steps when it comes to planning your selection process. This article focuses on what comes after you have gathered your requirements and assumes you have already mapped out your business processes. If this is ahead of where you currently are, then be sure to read how to gather requirements for a new ERP system.
Build Your ERP Research Team
The first step to selecting the right ERP system for your business is to build an internal ERP research team. These individuals will be the people responsible for reviewing the options that exist in the marketplace and noting down all the potential options. Ideally, this team would have been involved in earlier stages of the project. But if not, make sure they are familiar with your processes and requirements so they fully understand what to look for during their research.
This will create ownership of the research phase and allow a consistent approach to be taken so that all options are reviewed fairly. Having this team is also great when reaching out to vendors and it ensures the same people will be making contact and can ask the same questions each time.
The next step in selecting the right ERP system for your business is to understand what options exist. A detailed market review should take place to start building a list of potentially viable systems. Starting with a longer list is the best approach as some systems will drop out as things progress.
Once you have completed this you can start to narrow down and generate a list to contact. Detailed research and contacting vendors will help to reduce your list down to systems that are likely to meet your needs. Talk to team members with experience of the systems you are considering and reach out to vendors to ask for examples of work they have done in your industry.
All of this will be vital in getting you down to a viable list of vendors to invite to demo their system.
The Importance of Demos
As your team continue to research options and talk to vendors you will start to receive offers for demonstrations of ERP systems. These are a great way for vendors to highlight the unique features of their system and get in front of you with their prepared sales pitch. But demos are time consuming and often require multiple members of staff to be involved. That is why you need your list of viable vendors from the previous step before arranging any demos.
Once you have these demos arranged it is key to make them worthwhile. Give specific examples of what you want to see ahead of time. This allows vendors to create a demo that is relevant to your business and needs rather than a generic sales pitch. Selecting the right ERP system for your business relies on seeing demos with specific examples to properly score their feasibility.
Scoring the Systems
The last stage in selecting the right ERP system for your business is scoring the systems you have seen. The demos should have shown you real world examples of what each ERP will do as well as addressed any short comings for your needs. You then need to score each system based on how it performed, what features would be missing, and how many of your required functions does it cover.
Take your time with this process and understand that no system will come across as perfect by the end, The goal is to understand what system will do what you need and any custom changes you may need to make to address shortcomings.
Once you have completed this you should have found the system that is right for your business. You can now go back to that vendor and begin negotiations.