An ERP Evaluation is a complex undertaking for most organisations. This is because there are a lot of moving parts (software, services, risk, staff workload and vendor management and support). Making the right decision is imperative given the financial investment and commitment to organisational change that will be required.
The key to success is to find the right ERP Vendor who has the right ERP Solution for your organisation first time. If you get it wrong, the result can be disastrous, and it is very expensive to do it again.
CMC strongly recommends that the Evaluation of the ERP Software and the ERP Vendor (Partner or System Integrator) be done together in a single workstream, so that you can assess the overall offering.
One example of where this was most evident was a client evaluation where the three shortlisted vendors for demonstrations were all representing the same ERP solution. Their presentations and experience were so different that it was quite an eye opener. The winner had some innovative approaches that had significant productivity benefits – even though the base application was the same.
This is based on the following reasons:
- When the ERP Solution is decided on separately from the Vendor, the Vendor is unlikely to take responsibility for the promises and expectations made by the ERP Solution’s salespeople. You may end up with a situation of “finger pointing” and/or the “blame game” if things don’t go according to plan. The old adage “a single throat to choke” comes to mind.
- When ERP Software is sold without a Vendor, there is no real incentive for the salespeople to go to the trouble of setting up a scripted demo. They are just interested in selling the software licenses. You may end up buying software that is not a good fit for your needs or too many licenses you may never use.
”It is important to note that the ERP software licences you buy are rarely, if ever refundable.Peter GoesFounder and COO
CMC recommends you wait until after the ERP Scoping and Design Stage before acquiring your software licenses. It is at this point you will know what specific modules and the number of licenses you will need
Benefits of doing the ERP Evaluation as a Single Workstream
- The ERP Vendor who best demonstrates the preferred ERP solution in the pre-sales stage, will ultimately be responsible for ensuring a successful implementation.
- The ERP Vendors will be motivated to put the necessary time and effort into preparing a scripted presentation as they are the ones who will be rewarded with software and services revenue.
- There will be one prime contractor taking responsibility for the various legal and commercial agreements.
- There will be clearly documented parameters in terms of the ERP scope, costs, and timeline, thereby avoiding cost overruns and keeping the project on track.
- The ERP Vendor will be incentivised to attract and retain the right skills in their consulting team for the duration of your project.
Of course, as the client, you will have overall responsibility to ensure that there is strong project management and governance and that you have the right “client sided” resources on your team as well.
We recommend you conduct a structured and auditable evaluation process with defined criteria and clear decision points along the way. This will enable you to “compare apples with apples” and assess the best ERP Vendor and ERP Solution to meet your functional, technical, and cultural needs whilst providing you with clear direction on the best business partner to support you moving forward.