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Part 5: ERP Evaluations – The decision and execution

By Joseph Timmins

Through previous blog posts, we considered sound decisions for selection of a new ERP. In this post we explore your final decision and building a foundation for the best possible execution for your project. 

 

The Decision

Shopping around is always wise. Getting 3 quotes is always advisable.  But make sure the quote (or proposal) comes from a resource who has taken time to understand your needs.  Asking for a QuickBooks quote is entirely different than asking for an SAP proposal.  Consider what your business really needs and if the provider has proposed an approach that will yield success. As you evaluate your 3 top choices remember to get references.  This allows you to learn from their customers what the implementation experience was like. Do not expect the reference to be perfect.  While there are similarities in all ERP deployments – there are often nuances to people, businesses and system requirements.  Ask questions like:

  • Was the implementation partner responsive?
  • Did the partner take time to understand your business?
  • Did the partner offer creative solutions to ways the system will be used?
  • Did the software handle the majority of your business needs, and the most critical ones?
  • Have your people become enabled and self-sufficient in the daily use of software?

Remember it’s not simply about software features and functions – it’s about getting business results through a successful deployment and enabled users. 

 

The Execution

Once you have narrowed down your ERP partner and package, you should have a clear picture (implementation plan) to follow with desired end results. A professional partner will help provide the vision of the end game of a successful ERP deployment.  If you simply buy a software package – without vetting, planning and understanding the impact on your organization – the execution will fail. 

 

Take the following into consideration:

  • What costs are associated with the implementation upfront and through the project and what kind of on-going costs can you expect after implementation?
  • Have you established a reasonable target “Go Live” date that is achievable and well timed for your business?
  • Will the implementation impact your current operations beyond expectations? You’ll want to confirm this and ensure that you are giving your team realistic and ample time for appropriate training.
  • Is the implementation plan comprehensive enough? Before you commit to a timeline and a vendor confirm timeline and potential challenge. It’s better to be prepared than surprised
  • Have you selected an internal “champion”?  Does she have enough calendar space for the project? Expectation alignment can save you lots of time and money by avoiding errors or confusion.

If the outlined questions are satisfactory you are in a great position for success.

With your final decision ready and implementation plan you can soon realize benefits of your new ERP.  An ERP deployment should not be fast – but with the above it will have a solid foundation and will eliminate second guessing.  

For additional assistance on choosing the right vendor you can reference this article: Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation Project: The Consultant

 

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