Things Not to Do When Selecting an ERP
In our blog posts, we spend a lot of time educating our clients and potential clients on things they should consider when purchasing a new IT solution. When you implement a solution as large as an ERP system, we spend even more time trying to educate on things to look for and tips to make your installation easier. As important as those things are, it is also important to pay attention to things you should avoid doing when selecting an ERP. Here are a few tips for you to follow of things NOT TO DO:
- Pick the first software you come across. It is no secret that implementing an ERP is a large undertaking, in both time and money. Unfortunately companies often take the easy way out and pick a solution that is the most popular or is recommended by someone without really researching it thoroughly enough to determine if it is the best fit for your organization and its needs. The other common mistake is picking the the first solution you come across. I understand these salespeople may say all the right things, heck its their job to sell you. You need to make sure you evaluate several solutions before you choose one. You need to hear the benefits of several systems and also take the time to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each system in regards to your business.
- Pick the Consultant who wows you with their “big talk”. Big words does not equal qualified. Often times someone uses big words and technical jargon to cover up the fact that they really don’t know much about what they are talking about. They instead are trying to sell you on the fact that they sound smart and therefore must be an expert in what they are talking about. You need to work with a Consultant that asks questions and gives you answers to yours in terms you can understand. You need to make sure the answers you are getting are the ones you need to hear and you can’t possibly do that if you don’t understand what they are saying! Choosing the wrong Consultant to work with can be just as harmful as choosing the wrong solution for your business.
- Follow your competition. I truly believe in following your competition in order to compete properly. But, there are time and places when this philosophy makes sense and times when it doesn’t. When it comes to the technology solutions your organization is using, following the competition doesn’t give you any competitive gain. Although you may sell the same products as other companies, the way your company is structured and the way your business is run vastly varies. You need to choose technology solutions that fits into your organization the best, regardless of how it would work for someone else. This being said, there are solutions that are geared towards specific industries so evaluating those solutions is a smart thing to do. You may end up with the same solution, but let the reason be that you thoroughly evaluated it and it was the right solution to fit your needs. Not because someone else choose it.
- All ERP from day 1. As much as we talk about organizations needing to embrace their ERP system and give up old manual processes that the ERP can now take over, there is a right way to accomplish this. It is not possible or smart to assume on day 1 of your new ERP system that every business process is rolled out and changed. Properly maximizing your ERP system takes time and you need to go into it with a plan in place to roll-out changes in phases as to not overwhelm or disrupt the flow of your business. Rolling out in phases will also allow time for corrections and tweaks of those processes, before you move to the next. Prioritize your list of business processes, master those processes, move on to the next item, etc… until the list is complete and you are fully maximized. Take your time, perfection doesn’t happen overnight.
- Only plan for today. Most companies only implement a new ERP system every 5-10 years. If you choose and ERP solution and only consider the present, what are you going to do for the next 4-9 years after that first year is over? As companies grow and scale, their business needs change. You need to make sure you are getting a system that allows for customization so that as your needs change, your system has the ability to adapt with those. Never go with a solutions that is not ready-to-scale, even if the price is right. You need to consider what your business will look like in 5 years and make sure the ERP system you select can handle the make-up of that business, not just the one you are today.
About 1/3 of companies out there are not happy with the ERP solution they implement when you ask them after the initial roll-out. Now, there can be many reasons for this. Don’t find yourself in this group. Make sure you take the time to not only evaluate all the things you should look for in a Vendor, but also make sure you are not falling into the common traps mentioned above. 2W Tech is happy to be a Certified Epicor ERP partner and would be happy to discuss if this solution would be the best one for your organization.