Most consumers appreciate the opportunity to shop around and score the best deal on the perfect product or service they’re searching for. On average, companies spend 17 weeks selecting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. That’s a significant amount of time considering there are other business goals and priorities being juggled at the same time so adding in “shopping around” might add even more time to that process.
What we’ve noticed, especially with multi-entity businesses, is that when they realized they’ve outgrown their current solution, they are extremely eager to jump into the future with a top-rated fully integrated ERP accounting software solution, like Sage Intacct (*wink wink*). Sometimes, this excitement can be a detriment though. It’s a classic story and one that we’ve seen many times before. Read on for a cautionary tale of the dark side of the ERP software selection process.
Spilling the Tea
Your goal as an ERP software selection team is to try and find the critical differentiators (for your business) between the many similar packages. A real-life client of ours was originally on a fast track towards NetSuite. They were very excited, ready to jump on it, and then completed some reference checks on the product and the partner – something we always recommend in an ERP software selection process. However, during these checks, they discovered several things they were shown (and told) by the vendor were not the actual buyer’s experience.
With one key module, they were shown a demo of – NetSuite Planning (NSPB) – the vendor made things look super simple. They were also told it was, “Super simple to implement”. Except, when our client called around and asked a few people, they found out they never actually got this module implemented….at all…. ever. They ran into too many complex issues here, there, and everywhere and it halted that portion of the project.
Broken Promises & Unmet Goals
According to ERP Research, the top reason ERP implementations fail is due to selecting the wrong partner or vendor. David Thikoll, VP of Business Development and Sage Intacct Practice Directorat BT Partners says, “It’s not just from PowerPoint to reality, but from your demo to reality. A good demo person can take the product and show it in a way that overstates its capabilities or understates its limitations.” He continues, “Sales-driven organizations, like Oracle NetSuite, are great at selling. However, we come at it from a different angle, and this is exactly why we have implementation people as part of our sales meetings – so we prevent broken promises and deliver as expected.”
Going back to our earlier real-life client story, because of this client’s robust due diligence, they also checked into how the bank connections with NetSuite worked. What they discovered was that actually none of the options being looked at had elegant bank connections, so the project went on hold. At this point, the client decided to end that partnership and switch to BT Partners and Sage Intacct. This client did a lot of things right but unfortunately didn’t end up with the perfect solution. They are now waiting to see if the next few Sage Intacct releases provide a better ability to connect with their banks. Although this wasn’t the happiest story of all time, there is a silver lining. The client switched from finding the right product to finding the right partner, and that’s something that down the road can bring you closer to finding the right solution.
In a survey conducted in mid-2020, 71% of people said they have little faith that companies will deliver on their promises, and only 34% of consumers think companies are transparent about their commitments and promises. If there’s anything you do right in the ERP software selection process, it’s finding a partner that you trust. A good partner is willing to say, “No, our product can’t do that.”
It’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to ERP systems and their capabilities. Even with all the products and vendors out there, no one is going to check every single box. That’s impossible. Your goal is to look for the right balance between the two and identify any key deal-breakers that your gut instinct is telling you to back out of.
If you’re interested in hearing more about our memoirs of a recent shopper, so you can avoid ERP buyer’s remorse, reach out to our team of experts at BT Partners. Applying lessons learned is key to making an informed buying decision.