Top Five Things to Consider When Purchasing a New ERP System
So you have decided it is time to replace that aging ERP system and you are looking forward to starting the process. How the process is conducted and the system you choose is an important step for your company. Companies don’t replace systems everyday so you want to make the right choice. Here are five things to consider when purchasing a new ERP system.
You, Not Them
Over the years we have seen many companies choose systems. Some decisions have been great, and others…… well maybe not so much. You have to remember that the choice of a new system is about your company and your needs. It isn't about the “right” software, it is about your business. We have seen companies choose a system simply because a few people at the company have used it before. Times change and businesses are different. You need to find the system that fits your company’s needs and requirements, not what was used before or what a software vendor tells you is important. Define your key requirements and remember is it about your company and your processes and nothing else.
Executives are obviously key stakeholders in the purchase of a new ERP system. However, often times executives are far removed from the day-to-day needs of the business or again revert to what was used in the past. Most executives want a system that will make their people efficient and also meet their needs. Most executives are focused on getting information from the system so if you want executive sponsorship you have to show them how they will get relevant dashboards, reports and metrics. Remember the process of selecting a new ERP system won’t go far without executive sponsorship so figure out what is important to them and deliver.
Out, Not In
Speaking of gathering data and metrics and reports the need to get information out is just as important as getting the data in. The reality is that almost every system today will allow users to get data into the system in a relatively easy fashion. The top end systems allow users to get the data out just as easily and provide meaningful insights into your business. If you focus on getting information out of the system you will likely find a great solution that can provide value to your business. If your only goal is cranking data in you will likely be disappointed.
So you have executive sponsorship, but now what about the users? You would think every user wants a new system. However, when you buy a new ERP solution you will find that may not be the case. Everyone will likely agree that your old system is not adequate, but the reality is that it is the old system that they know! Going into an uncertain new system can be scary and not everyone may be up for the task. So you have to create buy-in among the users. Find out what drives each key functional area and try to address those needs. Nothing is perfect and everyone won't get everything they want, but asking and trying to address people’s concerns will go a long way to creating user buy-in.
So you found the right ERP solution and are ready to make the purchase. So you are all done right? Actually you have another important decision to make. The decision is who will be your implementation partner. Choosing the right partner can be just as important as choosing the right solution. An ERP system that is a great fit for your company that is implemented by the wrong partner can have a really bad result. Most people agree that choosing the right partner is just as important as choosing the right ERP solution. The good news is that the process is pretty much the same. You have to define your requirements and gather the opinions of those involved to create buy-in. Let your users and executives meet the people who will be on your project. If the consulting partner doesn’t want to or won’t let you meet and interview their team you should be concerned.
Hopefully if you are considering the purchase of a new ERP system you will find this information helpful. If you want to talk further please feel free to contact Logan Consulting.
2020 Nucleus Research Report on ERP Technology