When it comes to searching for a new ERP software solution there is no one-size fits all. It is a critical decision that can be an extremely long and difficult process. One must consider many different factors (ex. functionality, fit, price, complexity etc.) before selecting a solution. It is very important that you take your time in evaluating your options as choosing the right solution as well as the right vendor is critical to the success of the project. To help ease the stress this process can cause we have broken down 5 key factors one should consider when evaluating various ERP software vendors.
1. Company’s History & Background
Purchasing an ERP solution is a long-term decision and you want a software vendor that can support and grow with you. Be sure to do your research and due diligence about each vendor. Here are some questions you should consider asking/researching:
- Has the vendor gone bankrupt or been sold?
- Does the vendor outsource support and/or development overseas?
- Is the vendor a reseller or do they actually develop the software?
If you have the time and resources, consider a visit to the vendor’s headquarters to review their internal processes and how they support their customers and manage their code.
2. Vendor’s Reputation
One of the best ways to quickly determine if a vendor’s software will work for you is to see if it works for other companies that are identical to your business. If you already have an existing business relationship with any of the vendor’s current customers, then call them. This will give you an accurate portrayal of the software vendor’s actual performance. In addition, consider talking with multiple customers utilizing the vendor’s software. It is one of the best ways to quickly determine if the software will work for you.
3. Vendor’s ERP’s Features & Capabilities
One of the biggest and most critical factor in selecting a vendor is knowing what the software can actually do and what are its limitations. Much of the sales process revolves around a product demonstration. Consider providing some sample data and have a script of typical transactions. If you e-mail a C of A, SDS, Order Invoice with each order, make sure these requirements are met and demonstrated. It is easy for a vendor to say it does something, but actually seeing it happen will validate that the functionality actually exists.
4. Vendor’s Support & Implementation Structure
Much of your success will rely on the professional services your vendor offers in addition to the ERP software they provide. Be sure to vet your potential implementation project leader. See how much experience they have in your industry. Can they offer “Best Practice” advice and steer you in the right direction from the start. How does the ERP software vendor manage their support and product development? Is it overseas? Do you go with a generic help desk or are you assign a primary support person? How are software modification and enhancement managed? How are updates to the software validated and delivered?
5. Vendor’s Technology
Finally, you should consider if the vendor’s underlying technology is reliable, supported, widely used, and positioned for the future.
Putting It All Together
To recap, when conducting an ERP software search consider these 5 key factors about each software vendor to discover if they are a good partner for your business:
- Vendor’s History & Background
- Vendor’s Reputation
- Vendor’s ERP’s Features & Capabilities
- Vendor’s Support & Implementation Structure
- Vendor’s Technology
With so many different variables to consider in your search it is important that you take the necessary time to research and evaluate each vendor thoroughly. Finding the perfect partner will enable your business to reach its full potential and maximize your success.