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Why ERP and CRM Functionality Checklists Don’t Work

Many of our clients come to us after spending weeks or even months researching ERP and CRM Vendors and Solutions based on ERP and CRM Functionality Lists and yet they are still no closer to understanding who can solve their problem.

The reason for this is that ERP and CRM Functionality Lists are like all other lists. Lists provide the first layer of awareness, but they are a long way from providing real clarity and understanding on whether the service or product you are searching for actually can solve your business problem.

Most ERP Functionality Lists are collated and put together with the support and/or sponsorship of a 3rd party providers. These companies provide a good service, but the lists are subjective and only provide high level information.

These ERP and CRM Functionality Lists can be in the form of:

  • Online Technology Guides from companies such as Capterra or Select Hub.
  • Functional Comparisons of ERP Vendors from companies such as TEC and Business-Software.
  • Industry Research and Analysis from companies such as Gartner and Forrester.

Why ERP and CRM Functionality Lists Don’t Work

ERP and CRM Functionality Lists work well for the Vendors who sell solutions, but they don’t work well for buyers.

They are not going to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision for the following reasons:

  • There are a plethora of Vendors and Solutions globally. It can be daunting and very confusing about where you should start your search.
  • Lists provide information about the functions and features of the solutions or what we refer to as “Tick and Flick” but they do not explain how these functions and features work together in an end to end integrated business process. There is also minimal interdepartmental correlation of processes in these list; leaving the analysis siloed and inconclusive.
  • Lists may indicate “what” the ERP or CRM can do but not “how”. For example, there may be a tick next to Order Entry as a function provided; but an order may require 7 screens to enter and be time consuming. The quality of the “what” is thereby completely invisible, and this results in poor or misled guidance.
  • Information provided in ERP and CRM Functionality Lists originate from the Vendors who are marketing their products. They want to be found in search results and they want to be at the top of the list, so they often over promise what they can deliver.
  • ERP and CRM Functionality Lists do not provide details around “how” the Vendor will support you, whether they have similar clients to you, what specific industries they serve and whether there is cultural alignment.

In summary, ERP and CRM Functionality Lists do not provide enough detail for you to make a buying decision, but they are a good starting point for creating awareness of what functionality might be available in a very general sense.

What is the Best Approach?

Before you go out to the market to find a new ERP and CRM System to support your business, you need to have a very clear view of the key drivers, business priorities and pain points that the company is wanting to address so that you can narrow your focus and concentrate on the Vendors and Solutions that are right for your industry.

Narrow Your Focus

Once you have narrowed your focus, it is imperative that you follow a proven ERP and CRM Evaluation and Selection Process, which will provide you with clear steps to determine the right partner and solution for your specific circumstances.

It is critical that you identify Vendors who can deliver a solution for your specific business problem

Michelle Harvey - DirectorCombined Management Consultants