Enterprise Software Selection Help – Have You Considered a Collaborative Approach?
An Enterprise Software Selection project can quickly become a full-time job for many companies looking for a new system. There are a wide selection of enterprise software solutions available for many different industries and core business functions. The task of sorting through your business needs, and then matching them with the potential software solutions can be exhausting and overwhelming.
Not only do you have to sort through hundreds of vendors, you then need to find the right software and company with a solid implementation plan! Then…you may need to identify some specialty software providers to bridge the gap in capability in the standard ERP, which may include barcoding, business intelligence, field service, time reporting, etc.
Wow…. We Need Help! What Are Our Options?
Some companies have more experience than others in the software selection and implementation process. There are some consulting companies that can help you from end to end in the process (including us), but not all companies need that level of involvement from an outside consulting firm.
For those companies who have the expertise to do it on their own, we have created a "Use us as you need us" software selection model, allowing you to pick and choose where you may need help in the process.
Here are the 5 key steps in an ERP software selection project in which you may want to engage outside help:
Define Business Requirements You need to understand your current and potential future business requirements before selecting or upgrading your current software. Although you know your business, you may not know or understand what is possible. In addition, you may be too close to your own processes to really “dig in” on what you truly need. Defining your key business requirements is the most vital step in the overall selection process. It should be more than a short list of “Must Have’s” in the new software package. This step in the process is the best time to start thinking about business process improvement. REMEMBER: A new software package should not be an IT project, it is a Business Transformation Project!
Software Vendor Research Depending on the type of software you need, there could be hundreds of choices, from Cloud Solutions, Hosted Solutions, to On Premise solutions. In addition, the way the software is licensed and priced could be radically different. Also, do you know the long-term roadmap of the software? Is it going to be acquired by a larger company, or even worse, on the road to "Sunset", meaning the software you buy today may not be supported next year.
Determine Vendor "Short List" This is a very difficult task for most companies. How do you choose? Where to you start? How do you eliminate software options, etc. The goal of this step in the process it to get to the top 3 to 5 viable software candidates. This will make the next step in the selection process, Software Demos, much more manageable.
Vendor Software Demos Don't let the software vendor demo what they want you to see! You need to clear away the smoke and mirrors of many software demos and get the vendors to demo what you really need to see in order to make a decision. This is why creating a list of business requirements is so important. You may want someone to help you write demo scripts, help gather sample data, set up specific scenarios to see how the software will handle your key business requirements, manage the demos, and most importantly: keep the software vendor focused on your needs, not their needs!
Contract Negotiations Do you know where to leverage cost reduction? License Costs? Maintenance Costs? Implementation Methodology and Cost? Best time to buy? Do you know where software companies are willing to give concessions? There are many factors that come into play when negotiating software and implementation contracts, and with the software environment changing daily, what you knew three years ago regarding software contracts is very different than today. This is a great time to engage a consulting firm who lives in this environment every day and can help you navigate the process.
Your Enterprise Software Selection does not need to be a daunting task for your organization. You do not need to engage outside help on a full-time basis to get it done, so explore getting help when you need it, for as long as you need it.