Like a good paint job, its all about the prep.
If you're considering investing in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, it's wise to get a demo and see the system in action. This is the best way to learn about software capabilities and potential benefit to your organization. Like the best paint jobs, an excellent demo is all about the prep! In this blog, we'll go over a few tips for ERP demo preparation.
To view other parts of the 5 Points of Consideration for ERP Implementation click the links below:
- Why Replace your ERP?
- Who Will Implement your ERP?
- Prepare for a Demonstration (This blog)
- Project Execution
- Key Project Execution Components for your ERP Implementation
Prep One -
Vetting the publisher and the VAR – make sure the solution presented is a good fit for your budget and industry. Make sure the Value-Added Reseller (VAR) is capable of providing a demo – and that the demo is tailored to you (not generic). Ask if the person doing the demo is actually an implementer who will work with your team. Ask about his/her experience. Have they toured your operation?
Prep Two –
Assemble the Right Team - Your team should include individuals from different departments who have a stake in the ERP implementation. For example, you may want to include IT, finance, sales, purchasing, and manufacturing. By having a diverse team, you'll be able to evaluate the ERP system from different perspectives and ensure that all key stakeholders have a voice in the decision-making process.
Prep Three -
Identify your needs and goals – Make sure you understand “must have’s” – these are software capabilities that are vital to you – and justify the investment you are considering. Do not worry about narrow aspects of the software (e.g. how to print a check) – many such capabilities are given, don’t need to be demonstrated and distract from what’s vital.
Prep Four –
Set expectations – Make sure attendees are expecting a demo and not a training session. If the solution is eventually chosen, the VAR will propose extensive training and enablement of all users. Also, limit the demo to 2 hours – otherwise, people will reach a saturation point. Attendees should clear their schedules and not be interrupted. Going to the VAR’s office for the demo can help reduce distractions too.
Prep Five –
Envision the project to switch to the new ERP – Make no mistake, an ERP project is involved. In advance of the demo, participants should be picturing what data conversion and clean up will entail. They also should think about organizational skill sets. For example, if your material planners have never used MRP, how will these new capabilities benefit you? Is additional training (such as APICs certification) needed? Or, do you need to hire? Think also about the critical reporting needs of your business that the ERP must provide.
During the ERP demo, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers from the VAR. To make the most of this opportunity, it's essential to prepare a list of questions in advance. These questions should be based on your organization's needs and goals, and should cover topics such as implementation, customization, and support.
To get the most out of the ERP demo, it's important to provide the VAR with relevant data about your organization. This data may include information about your current processes, like order to cash and purchase to pay. By providing this process information to in advance, they can tailor the demo to your specific needs and provide you with a more personalized experience.
In conclusion, attending an ERP demo is an essential step in selecting an ERP system for your organization. By preparing in advance, you'll be able to complete a robust evaluation and make an informed decision.