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:
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.
Companies large and small are jumping on the cloud bandwagon and moving some, if not all, of their computing services online. Analyst firm Forrester projects the cloud computing market to grow from $91 billion in 2015 to $191 billion by 2020. But is the cloud (or hosted environments) truly ready for prime time? That's a question that keeps many IT professionals awake at night.
It's also a question many small and mid-sized companies are going to need to wrestle with as they find their needs for data outgrowing their current accounting software. The temptations to consider a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) ERP program are strong. Cloud-based services are advertised as extremely secure, but can you be sure?
Several high-profile security breaches, including Anthem, Evernote and LastPass can leave companies understandably concerned. According to InfoWorld article, The Dirty Dozen: Top Security Threats in Cloud Services, which is reporting on the Cloud Security Alliance’s 2016 Top Threats Report, there are many things to keep in mind in regard to Cloud ERP security risks:
Cloud-based services are bound to grow, and their purveyors are going to promise that security will grow with them. But you must decide if that risk of early cloud adoption is worth it for your company. If you have questions about cloud-based ERP and other methods of securing your network solutions, contact Parallel Solutions at (440) 498-9920 to learn about the risks and rewards of various options.
ERP solutions in the mid-market have evolved to the point that every one of the major provider’s software products provide all the basic functions. When purchasing ERP solutions, companies typically choose a comprehensive bundle of integrated software to meet their needs -- some combination of capabilities like financial, manufacturing, supply chain, inventory, HR, CRM and so on.
However, third party products do provide peripheral functionality. While these bolt-on products may not be needed by a large percentage of the software publishers’ customers, those who do need them often find the additional functionality is a core need for their business.
There are many things to keep in front of mind when adding new products into an ERP software solution and the right vendor partnership can be key in navigating these waters. Software publishers normally have bolt-on products which they prefer (and sometimes sell as a re-branded product). Additionally there are products that are marketed independently and often have no ERP vendor support, which can add workload for the IT department and be more challenging for integration.
When looking at add-on products, ask the following questions:
In summary, third party software can bring valuable functionality to the table. However, due diligence is needed to minimize future issues.
If you have questions about varying ERP software solutions, give Parallel Solutions a call at (440) 498-9920. We are a full service provider and our experienced staff can help assess all your needs from software to training and support.
Mary Jo O'Neill