How To Figure Out Which ERP Systems To Evaluate

ERP BUYING GUIDE SERIES (Article 2 OF 10)

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How To Figure Out Which ERP Systems To Evaluate

This article is intended to provide you general guidelines. If you’re looking for more specific guidance for your needs then feel free to contact Calsoft.

Here are some tools available to help you figure out the ERP systems to evaluate:

1. Professional Opinion

  • Hire an experienced business consultant to first conduct a detailed requirements analysis of your business operations and business requirements. You need to understand your requirements before you can find a solution for them.
  • Find a consultant that can help you create the formal RFP (Request for Proposal) and possibly manage the system evaluation and vendor selection process.
  • Calsoft Systems offers these services if needed.
2. Online Research

  • Do some research and learn what the trends are in the marketplace.
  • Which software publishers are investing in their solutions and which are cutting?
  • What system(s) are other companies in your industry using (i.e. look for case studies for your industry from the various software publishers).
  • What are the various analysts (i.e. Gartner) saying about the solutions?

3. Asking Friends In The Industry
    I wouldn’t put too much merit into what other companies use since the needs for each company are unique to them but if several companies in your industry are using the same solution then I encourage you to include it in the 3-5 solutions that you evaluate.

Points To Consider

Spending a few minutes on these topics will help “paint the landscape of the best solution” for you:

A. What is my budget?

  • This will help quickly categorize viable options
  • If you’re not sure what it costs then this article may help clarify costs (click here)

B. What is my project timeframe (if any)?

  • Enterprise systems take longer to implement than mid-market solutions
  • If you have a firm “go-live date” then you might as well rule out non-viable options

C. How long do I intend to use this system?

  • What is the scalability of the system for your 3-5 year growth?
  • What is the likelihood the system will meet your needs in 10 years? What are the options with the software publisher if you outgrow the system? (i.e. can you get credit for the software purchase if you switch to one of their other systems).

D. What are other companies in my industry using?

  • I don’t consider this that important but it may be helpful to know what your friends and fierce competitors are using. If a lot of similar companies are using it then it should be one of the 3-5 systems that you evaluate.

E. Is a Cloud Solution Or An On-Premise Solution Better For Me?

  • Many of the popular ERP systems offer both options but you’ll need to make a decision on this somewhere in your purchase evaluation cycle so might as well do a little research of the cost/benefit of each option now.
  • Read this article about Cloud vs On-Premise for more info. (Click Here).

— Additional Points To Consider —

F. Who is the software publisher behind the solution and will they be around in 5 years?

  • Even if you intend to use the system only 3-4 years you’ll want to be confident that the software publisher is financially stable and will be around 5 years from now.
  • The financial health of the software publisher will also give you a feel for how much R&D investment they’re putting into the solution(s) that you’re evaluating.

G. What are the organizational requirements for the new system?

  • You’ll need to define the requirements early in the Purchase Evaluation Cycle.
  • If you don’t know what you want then it’ll be hard to confirm the viable solutions.
  • The more accurate and the more detailed your requirements are the more accurately the vendors can provide pricing for the software and the related services.
  • An experienced business consultant can help you define these for your company.
  • Calsoft can help you create a detailed RFP (Request for Proposal) which contains the detailed requirements if assistance is needed.

H. What are the management goals for the new system?

  • These are more high level than the organizational requirements (which are functional needs).
  • These could relate to near term growth, scalability, flexibility, etc for your company.
  • For example if your company plans to expand overseas or plans to start handling multi-currency in the next year or two then you’ll want a system that has that functionality or at least offers it as an option via a third party solution. You don’t want to be forced to switch systems due to changes to your business model.

If you found this article valuable then I encourage you to read some of the other articles in this series:

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