There are many challenges when searching for that perfect Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for increased efficiency, big ROI and improved quality of life. There’s a lot of pressure to select the right ERP system. It’s a big investment, and one of the most, if not THE most, important decisions your business will make with 53% of businesses believing ERP is one of the priority sectors for investments. The key is recognizing that these types of major strategic decisions rarely come without their hurdles.
You will likely find your first potential roadblock right near the beginning of the process – having a hard time figuring out WHO (the ERP partner) and WHAT (the ERP system) to go with. However, don’t let this uncertainty prevent you from going through the ERP selection process. We’ve come up with a few guiding points that can help simplify the process so you can select the right ERP system and partner for your business, and its longevity in support of continued growth.
The Power of a Strong Partnership
The first step is accepting the reality that you will be looking at 2-3 very similar ERP packages. This can get confusing. Many of the solutions on the market offer essentially the same capabilities and features that most companies need. What will help you at this stage of the process is to focus on the people first, rather than the product. Whom do you like the most, and why? What partner seems most vested in getting to know your workflows and unique aspects of your business? Does the partner have experience and expertise in your industry? Who keenly responds to your emails and phone calls, and promptly? The answers to these questions, and more, will help ensure you get the partner AND the package combo. The perfect happy meal.
Do Your Homework
If you find yourself paralyzed in the decision-making process, the best thing you can do is talk to someone who has implemented that specific system with the partner you’re considering. Chances are you know someone in the industry. Do your due diligence and run a background check. Reach out to them and start a productive conversation on how the implementation (and don’t forget post-implementation) went with that partner. Don’t talk about the general features of the system. Talk about the things that got you looking for the new system in the first place. Think about an ERP selection in terms of what you originally set out to do. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the features and functions …. because no doubt there are a lot of them, and it’s easy to get distracted. Stay focused and don’t get sidetracked. Stick to your end goal.
The Ideal Partner Will….
Find a partner that looks forward through the windshield, not in the rear-view mirror. You want a solution that fits now, and in the years to come. A good partner will know this. You don’t want someone that is super determined to sell you everything on their first order. You should be able to tell right away who these people are just by the way they talk and how much (or how little) they listen. Selling an ERP solution, and the partnership they bring to the table is so much more than just a sale. It’s a long-term commitment that has a direct impact on your organization’s financial growth and cultural health. The best partners grow from repeat business and referrals. Choose wisely.
Select the Right ERP System
Once you’ve nailed down some potential partners you feel comfortable doing business with, THEN look at the key system capabilities and risk vs. return, and make sure the partner can deliver on their promises. It’s overwhelming getting immersed in a 20-page RFP of Yes/No questions about what’s needed. That’s what we like to call “Death or Paralysis by Matrix” and falling victim to that never delivers the best outcomes.
90% of ERP projects fail to deliver any measurable ROI. So, make sure you have your expectations managed appropriately. As David Thikoll, VP of Business Development and Sage Intacct Practice Director at BT Partner says, “If someone is just looking at features and functions, they might not understand the main goal, which is to get the biggest percentage of return with the lowest risk.” Scoring the functions with an importance of 1-5 doesn’t get you any closer to making a solid decision about what will be the biggest ROI with the lowest risk. A study conducted by Nucleus Research found that Sage Intacct achieved an ROI of 532%, a time-to-value of 2.5 months, and an average annual savings of $301,995. While Infor CloudSuite Industrial reduced one company’s inventory by 10% within two months of them going live without impacting on-time deliverability. Find out the average ROI of the ERP system you’re looking at. Is it worth it?
Rather than focusing and feeling befuddled by all the bells and whistles the ERP system does, focus on this one question: When we go live, what are we expecting to be able to do? It’s okay now to be a little bit selfish. At the end of the day, you should have your business at heart. Think about what your company needs from the system today and in the future. Don’t just think about what the system offers and dreams it purports to make come true
From the ERP selection to implementation, trying to select the right ERP system partner is a daunting task, but once the right decision is made, you can significantly cut down on deployment costs, earn massive ROI, and ensure profitable and sustainable growth. Personally, we put partnerships over transactions because we know that your win is also our win. If you’re in the market for a new ERP system, reach out to one of our experts at BT Partners. We are happy to have an unbiased talk about the options available to you, whether that’s Sage Intacct or another ERP solution that’s right for you.