Navigating the steps of an ERP implementation is not easy. There are certain things you need to pay attention to and many things to avoid. Here are our top dos and don’ts for your next ERP selection:
Do make sure you know what modules to include in your ERP. Even if the team of people that’s integrally involved in the ERP selection is focused on their particular department—accounting or operations, for example—make sure you are addressing the needs of all stakeholders in your organization. You’re going to great lengths to choose an ERP software. Make sure you get solutions for everyone who needs them—even if you select an application and opt later to buy/implement less.
Don’t start your project without knowing what you’re doing and why. We can’t stress this enough: know what you’re trying to do with a software solution before you start the selection process. If you don’t know why you’re doing an ERP implementation, it will fail. Recently, a client of ours shared that the executive assistant of their company’s president didn’t like their current software—and this was the big push to choose something else. Once we uncovered that, we helped the executive assistant get trained, which was the real problem. That helped them avoid going through the pain of choosing and implementing new software.
Do choose a solid implementation partner. It’s important that you like the software you select and understand it. You certainly want it to function as you need it to, after all. However, the next important element is who you’ll be working with. Get to know the people who will support you through the implementation and later on when you need additional training. You cannot rely solely on a salesperson. If you have the chance to meet some of the people on the implementation team upfront, you should do so.
Don’t do a demo without a demo script. Software vendors often want to push a demo, and it’s understandable. They want to show you what the software is capable of and wow you with all of its features. While it is important for you to see software in action, make sure you request a scripted demonstration. By this, we mean write down your needs and tell the vendor you’d like them to show you how their software will meet those needs. Keep this list on hand and hold the company accountable to it if you end up choosing them.
Do make sure your contract has favorable terms. You absolutely must look out for your long-term ownership and usability of the software. Think about locking in terms so your pricing doesn’t change for a period of time and putting a cap on how much your pricing can increase year over year. Remember: year one using a new software platform is largely spent getting up to speed. Negotiate favorable usage and payment terms.
Don’t ever pay list price for software. Speaking of pricing, we urge you to never pay list price for software. Though a vendor might tell you otherwise, there is a fairly healthy profit margin in the software business. With every new customer a vendor acquires, their costs are marginalized, and the more profit they make. You have room to negotiate, we promise.
Do start the integration and specification work as soon as you sign your contract. Let the vendor team know that you’d like to start the implementation process as soon as you make your decision. Yes, it’s going to be a lot of work, but you’re getting billed right away…you might as well get things going!
One more “do”…do celebrate once you make your selection. Kick things off with a team lunch or dinner and be sure to thank your people along the way for their efforts. When the implementation is complete, you should celebrate that as well!
Here’s an unfortunate reality: there are many failed ERP implementations. In our experience, we’ve noticed that the vast majority do not accomplish the goals they were intended to accomplish. Rest assured, our team is to help you be successful and avoid common failures.
If you need guidance through this process, contact the team at ERP Advisors Group today/