Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software offers the benefits of streamlined and integrated business processes, lower cost of operation, improved reporting capabilities, data security and increased productivity. With multiple benefits brought about by an efficient ERP system, the process of selecting the right system that can help support your organization’s needs can at times be daunting.
To help increase the odds of choosing the right ERP software, below is an ERP selection tip sheet that outlines key steps for selecting the right ERP software.
1. Know and prioritize your software requirements
- Start by identifying what challenges you want to solve and what your current system is unable to do for you. It’s best to divide the list into features that are must-haves and nice-to-haves. The more specific you can be about your software requirements, the better. As an article from Software Advice notes: “by knowing what you need, you’ll be in a better position to control the selection process, rather than let software vendors dictate your needs.”
2. Carefully evaluate your options before deciding on an ERP system
- It’s important to consult management and key stakeholders and ask them for their input in the evaluation phase. It’s also worth considering how the systems you’ve shortlisted affect integration with your existing office systems, the ERP system’s reporting capabilities and metrics.
3. Build a short list of software vendors
- Determine which vendors best serve your industry, requirements and budget. Remember that it’s best to list five or fewer vendors and products to evaluate.
4. Closely evaluate live software demos
- Start by preparing brief demo scripts that detail specific workflows that you want to evaluate in the demo. After each demo, meet with your team to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the demo and compare notes.
5. Compare prices
- Once you’ve narrowed down your list of vendors, you can now ask the vendors for a detailed price quote and compare in terms of what vendors will offer with support, training, third-party hardware and pricing models.
6. Get references from vendors
- Ask the vendor you’ve chosen for a reference that shares a similar business need and size. When talking to the reference, don’t hesitate to ask about challenges that they faced with the system and how the vendor was able to address issues.
- Given all of the information that you’ve gathered from the process, decide if the vendor and ERP system is the right fit for your organization. Ensure that all the agreements and requirements that must be fulfilled are noted in writing from the vendor.
Linz Tan, Web Marketing Assistant, WebSan Solutions Inc., a 2014 Ontario Business Achievement Award Winner for Service Excellence