Purchasing an ERP system may be one of the most important things a company does to promote efficiency and growth. It can also be one of the more expensive and difficult tasks. In a sales world of dazzling demos and promises of problems solved, it’s essential to identify the right ERP selection team.
This team has to understand the needed ERP functionality and be able to discern differences in varying options and demos that may look similar. Team members also need to be master communicators who can dedicate time to the ERP selection process.
When assembling an ERP selection team, be sure all departments are represented. Each member should come to an initial meeting with a list of 10-20 important functions, done by their department, that the entire team can rank in order of importance for the company as a whole. It is critical that 3+ ideas from each department are included to ensure commitment to the project. This process, done by and in collaboration with each department, will help the team determine the key functionality required from the new ERP system.
When it comes to the vendor selection process, there are many things to keep in mind, including vendor references, training capability and implementation experience. Considering the software itself, however, means engaging with and communicating about demos from each vendor and using these demos to judge the software’s and vendor’s strengths.
Since demos have a tendency to blend together, it’s wise to discuss feedback among the team as each vendor demo is completed. Many companies prefer to wait for all the demos to be finished and review them simultaneously, thinking this will save time. Unfortunately, this can lead to significant confusion between demos and decision fatigue as the meeting drags on.
Sitting in all demos allows team members to spend an equal amount of time with each vendor, take copious notes and look at important issues that might not be answered in a standard demo. Ask questions and listen. Make sure everyone is hearing the same things from the vendor in regards to options and functionality.
Here are some good questions to ask during demo review:
- Were there weaknesses noticed or issues not addressed?
- Did each department feel it’s “section” of the demo was helpful, thorough and sufficient to answer questions and meet needs?
- Does each department understand the process in the same way?
- How does this software and/or vendor solve some of the company’s biggest challenges?
After all individual demo review meetings are held, a final comparison meeting can be hosted to consider all the demos, compare notes and talk about specifics of selection.
If you’re interested in learning more about what’s available in ERP, contact us today. At Parallel Solutions, we help you make the right decisions about ERP, so you can focus on growing your business.