We all know how hard it is to choose the right ERP software for your organisation. The months and months of planning and shortlisting the top ERP software’s in the market, going through countless reviews, reading a 100 brochures, it’s definitely a long and arduous road.
But just when you think that the list is getting shorter, BOOM! You realise that the software looks great on paper but you have no clue about the ERP vendor. How does one go about choosing the right ERP vendor?
It almost reminds you of the children’s fairy tale Snow White, the evil stepmother with the red shiny apple. What if you found the shiny apple (the ERP solution) only to find out that the ERP vendor was the evil stepmother? That’s a horror story.
Well to be less dramatic, choosing the right ERP vendor is not as terrifying a process as long as you follow a few simple rules.
Rule #1: Know what you want
You need to have an almost complete picture of what your business needs. You might need an ERP solution to knit together the business processes of your organization so it can operate more efficiently. Or you might need an ERP that is tightly focused and addresses your immediate needs, but that has the ability to expand later should you need more modules.
The reason you need to know your business requirements is so when the time comes to choose the right ERP vendor, you will have to find a vendor who understands what your company needs so that the right ERP solution can be tailored to those needs.
Rule #2: Make a list
Making a list of the top ERP vendors to consider may seem a little OCD but there’s nothing like a good list to assist the decision making process. With a little assistance from good old internet, you will be surprised to find how easy it is to make that list.
Talk to people in the industry to understand who the major players are. Also keep in mind that the big names may not always be the best fit. Do research on some of the smaller/niche players in the market who may have more scope towards customizations, rapid implementations (based on project size) and even lower implementation costs.
When making that list, keep in mind a few factors such as industry experience, customer testimonials, compliance with data regulations, further support and maintenance, to name a few.
Rule #3: Know ALL the costs
We’ve all heard the stories of how ERP implementation costs have spiralled out of control. Well truth be told costs will spiral out of control if you’re not aware of your costs from the very beginning.
It comes down to asking the ERP vendor the right questions. It always helps if you have a budget and work around it. Ask the vendor to provide you with the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). If the implementation required is beyond your budget ask your vendor if a phased approach is possible.
The answer is to break up all your costs and understand the costs that can be avoided and the ones that are absolutely necessary. When you’re on top of your expenses from the very beginning, nothing can surprise you.
Rule #4: Have a structured evaluation process
Ensure you have a structured RFI/RFQ process so that each shortlisted vendor can be evaluated properly. Ask your top vendors to demonstrate their knowledge of your industry or business and have them demonstrate how that will translate into results for your company. A scorecard approach can help measure the capabilities of the vendor and thus make decision making easier.
Rule #5: Time is money
During the entire ERP Vendor assessing time period, ensure that you have milestones. Set a timeline for each step whether it is shortlisting vendors, getting stakeholder approvals, RFI/RFQ process, and demonstrations etc.
Time is money and the longer this process takes, the longer it will take to get the ERP implementation process started, the longer it will take for change management and the longer it will take to reap the benefits of the technology. In short, be quick and efficient.
Choosing the right ERP vendor and solution for your organisation doesn’t have to be a hair pulling experience. Following these rules will direct you through the process and help you to choose the best ERP vendor for your project.
Click below to know more about our whitepaper on Choosing the right ERP solution for your business if you’re in the process of assessing the right solution for your organisation.