As a solution known for its comprehensiveness, configuration, and connectivity, getting what you want from an ERP solution is both easy and hard.
Can Nearly Everyone Deliver? Yes. But What Does That Really Mean?
Yes, nearly every ERP solution available today gets you a near-perfect fit, yes, there are ways to build or change the solution to meet your needs, and yes, even if the functionality isn’t provided, there are integrations built to do the job. However, knowing how complex the product, it’s also easy to get lost in the shuffle.
Maybe you go into a project and think that any solution will do. Maybe you rush into a project without understanding what it means. Maybe you have a clear picture of what you want, only to learn about a bunch of other things you think you need. Of course, these are three of the easiest ways for a project to fail. From the wrong product altogether to poorly set expectations to shiny object syndrome, each of these can result in little value and a lot of cost.
However, there are ways to take a pragmatic approach to ERP, understanding who you are, what you need, and how to get there. Today, we explore a few reasons why ERP decision makers get lost in the decision process, looking at selection criteria for ERP and offering tips to avoid burying yourself in the weeds.
ERP Selection Criteria: Understanding Yourself and Your Needs
Approaching an ERP project should be an exciting time. People have been convinced that the status quo is leaving them without value, they’ve gotten a chance to have their say in the project, and are somewhat excited to see their workload become a bit lighter. But from here, it’s on you to document these needs, rank them, and discuss with vendors and partners how you’re going to get there.
As discussed in a recent article from ERP focus, getting from decision to move to decision on solution can get derailed without the proper expectations, support, budget, and customization. In this article, they highlight the top criteria to look for and why it matters to your success.
It All Starts with a Clear and Concise List of Requirements
A surprisingly overlooked step in the journey to ERP, the process of developing your list of requirements and documenting your needs is critical. Sometimes, companies will go into a project without support or input from end users, other times they won’t prioritize which business problems they need to solve, and others still will plan to get too much too quick.
The beauty of ERP is that you can always add. Maybe you can delay implementing a module or maybe there’s functionality that you didn’t expect already in the product. Either way, stay in touch with users to ensure needs are documented and prioritized.
Get Support from Executives and End Users
As noted by ERP Focus, “One can select the absolute best ERP for their organization, yet without upper management support, the project is likely doomed.” The same goes for end users. While an unmotivated upper management might pull the plug too quickly, unmotivated end users might end up ignoring the software altogether.
Getting support from both of these parties takes a bit of internal marketing and a little math. If you discussed needs with end users, you may have the morale up and the expectations set, but continued management and communication of the project is necessary to keep hopes high. Selling the project to management will take a very fiscally-driven turn. ROI matters, and you should be presenting this as an opportunity to drive value in the future. This will keep management on board as you approach and move into a project.
Ensure There’s Functionality and/or Integration with Current Systems
Getting what you need is all about ensuring this is even available. For example, are you running internationally—How well does it handle currency management? Do you have a unique sales order process—can the solution deliver on those workflows?
Functional requirements are often the make or break of whether a vendor makes the shortlist or not, and you have to ensure the vendor can deliver—or connect with something that can. Much like functionality requirements, you may have a solution you already use for a specific process like AP and AR. Will the solution integrate and will they be able to deliver this affordably and easily?
Is the Vendor Going to Deliver?
Business landscapes change. Companies grow, industries evolve, and your solution needs to stay ahead of that. Being able to ensure your vendor will be able to handle your needs a few years from now requires them to provide innovation and scalability—ready to handle your needs when you need to embrace them.
How Much Work Will It Take?
As mentioned above, many solutions can be modified to meet your needs. However, it pays to ask how easy the changes are and how much those changes will cost. Understand among your team what customization is desired and whether it truly is essential. Know if you can do it yourself or need to outsource the work. Know if the customization is going to be permanent or break with every update. These tips will go a long way in delivering a sustainable ERP landscape for years to come.
The Right Product, the Right Partner: Meet MIBAR
You make decisions that impact your business everyday, and sometimes the right choice isn’t clear because your business intelligence is trapped inside pesky spreadsheets and littered across multiple departments.
But with the right ERP implementation, you can gain a 360-degree view of your entire business. From orders, fulfillment, tracking and shipping, to marketing, sales, accounting and e-commerce, MIBAR.net gives you the tools and technologies to automate workflow and empower smart decision-making.
At MIBAR, we’ve been in the business of making ERP a reality for customers and have delivered results for nearly three decades. Get to know more about us, our work, and when you’re ready to work with the best, contact us for a free consultation.