Why to follow proper ERP selection process
Many ERP systems showcase the same modules but the difference can be found out in their details. It is necessary to proper ERP evaluation should be done before implementing it as there are tons of options available in the market and you have to shortlist on which ERP best suits your business so that you don’t waste valuable time and effort. Various steps involved in ERP selection process are:-
Steps for ERP selection process are
Step 1: Assess your business process
Different businesses have different needs and hence require their business specific flavor in different modules. You need to first assess your business to know what your business needs.
The questions you should ask include:
a.) Do you have industry-specific requirements beyond the ability of your current system?
b.) Is slow report writing or a lack of available reports preventing your company from making timely decisions?
c.) Are your employees, partners, and vendors able to access company data over the web and via mobile devices? Is this something you could benefit from?
d.) Does lack of flexibility hurt your company’s ability to keep up with new and more complex business processes?
e.) Is key information and business intelligence unavailable throughout your company?
f.) Does your current Accounting system timeout or under-perform?
g.) Does your company rely on manual processes, double entry, and/or spreadsheets?
h.) Is the production of financial statements time-consuming and error-prone? Can you easily perform inter-company transactions?
Step 2: Develop selection criteria
The main goal of implementing ERP is to make your business more efficient and profitable. Finding the solution that provides the strongest overall returns , is a much more significant win than limiting upfront costs, but missing a chance for major ongoing savings.
Some other selection criteria to consider include:
a.) Features & Usability- Software isn’t a good investment if it’s not used to its fullest extent. It’s vital that your employees understand the capabilities of your new system. It’s important that you can use the ERP program effectively. Your employees’ ability to interact with the system will largely determine your path to ERP satisfaction. How do you like the look and feel of the program? Is it easy to navigate? Are there too many bells and whistles that you don’t envision using? Does the solution seem to be geared towards your industry and business processes?
b.) Implementation-What level of implementation, support and training will you need with a new solution? An ERP implementation takes time and experience. Will the vendor be dedicated to your company and implementation? And does the vendor have the proper resources to implement the proposed solution on your agenda? You should ask this questions before selecting on an ERP.
c.) Support- It’s important to identify how your ERP support will be delivered, and if it makes sense for you and your staff. Does support come with the solution, or is that an added cost?
d.) Training- Training can be onsite, online, or could be provided as a class/course that your employees will have to attend. Once again your employees ability to interact with the system will determine your path to ERP success. How many users will need training? Consider turnover and new employees, and the easiest way for your team to “get up to speed”. And don’t forget to consider the added cost for the desired method of training. Perhaps the cost benefit of doing those online trumps hands on help. And we’ve found that decision usually comes down to preference, cost, and convenience.
e.) Vendor Capabilities- Two vendors providing the same solution can have a very different range of experience and ability. How experienced are they? How many employees do they have? How long have they represented the proposed ERP software? That history can provide you a great deal of insight on a particular firm.
Arranging a priority selection criteria will help you identify and prioritize ERP solutions as you begin to engage and evaluate the various vendors. And once you’ve internally ranked the importance of your selection criteria, you begin to consider the differences of each vendor as you start to engage with providers.
Step 3: Get matches from looking at various ERP features
Now that you have assessed your business process and developed selection criteria, it’s time to look for various ERP features, you can go to their websites and surf through their ERP’s features, all you need to do now is create a list of ERPs which fulfills your selection criteria and you have now shortlisted from a lot of ERPs to just a few ERPs among which you need to make a selection
Step 4: Contact each of your matches for personal conversation
Have an open minded conversation with each matched provider. First impressions can give you a lot of insight. Was the software provider prepared for the conversation? Did they research your company? Do they understand your pains? You will get an idea of all these questions from that first conversation and will able to further shortlist the ERPs among which you need to make a selection.
Step 5: Schedule a demo for the matches you like
Get a feel for the solution by taking a look at it and navigating with a demonstration. This can provide a great deal of insight on any bugs, navigating issues, usability, and if most of what you see applies to you and your business. A demo can give you a much clearer picture of what the solution can deliver. Try to go through an example where you may have lacked the functionality, or where you’ve experienced problems, bugs, and/or time consumption this will give you an idea of how their solutions can benefit you.
Step 6: Compare proposals of the companies whose demos you liked
Make sure you receive and compare a formal proposal from each of yourtop providers. Compare their proposals against each other, which is best suited for your business? Which is promising a good after sales service? What their clients think of them now? Which solutions can bring the best ROI? Will be the questions you should ask yourself in this step to make a detailed selection.
Step 7: Check references
You must have a clear picture now that which ERP you want to choose, but what they are promising in it really all true? Ask for references, both of new clients as well as of old ones as they will provide you insights of company, where it was and where it is now.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for real access to existing customers. It’s not uncommon for ERP providers to arrange product tours for prospective clients with real customers. The willingness of existing clients to share their time in this way speaks very loudly in terms of their feelings about the value they are receiving from their ERP vendor.
Step 8: Make a Decision
After all the work you’ve done from analyzing your business processes to researching ERP software, it’s important that you make a decision, and that you stick to a decision timeframe. Consider the costs of not implementing a new ERP solution. It’s important to keep in mind that the solutions will make your business more efficient, intelligent, and profitable. The right ERP software will automate and streamline your business processes creating long term savings. It can be easy to underestimate the financial impact of the right solution.
So now you know the proper methodology for ERP selection process
Spectrum ERP has helped many in making their business more efficient , look at our offerings and modules and evaluate yourself if it is best for your business or not
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