For a proper ERP selection, a planned and collective approach is required which may avoid the pitfalls and help the management in reaching at a stage where they have ample information to make a correct decision. There are many reasons for making an improper selection, some of them are so simple that it is difficult to avoid them in normal decision making process.
Understanding, 'as is', of the company is the first and most important step that decision making body of any company seeking an ERP selection has to take. Deep and practical understanding of all the departments, identifying bottlenecks and scope of improvement in the processes for efficient working is easily understandable once an exhaustive and detailed study is conducted. The preparation of as is document helps in creating awareness in all the members and bring them at same level of information about the working pattern and style of working.
Once the problem areas and bottlenecks are chalked out, these can be used as selection criteria for the ERP software selection. The ERP suited most to resolve the situations of poor working and can offer solutions to the problems company is facing shall be short listed for further analysis. This document also helps in creating a checklist of processes those can be started or rather can be improved by utilizing advantages of IT which may be vital for increasing profit margins of the company. Such processes shall be identified by giving sufficient stress as such an improvement help in increasing ROI on ERP software and using ERP as a tool for business growth.
Gathering information about ERP vendors is another important step in ERP software selection which also includes a detailed study of options, facilities, modules and client list of the vendors. Always stress should be laid on analyzing main software rather than analyzing it with add on tools or facilities those will be available after customization. Most suitable ERP software with minimum customization is better option, lack of customization also works well for keeping TCO under control and lesser complexity in training and understanding of the software.
Too much stress on initial prices shall not be laid rather short listing most suitable ERP with minimum customization, effective training methods and easier implementation process shall be preferred. Demonstration of the ERP software shall be designed specifically focusing and suggesting solutions to the problems of the company. The new way of handling present working after the installation of new system shall be explained in detail and all the people who will be working on the new system shall be involved in the demonstration with freedom of putting forward their opinions and advices. Always remember that costly software does not necessarily means it is good software too and vice versa.
Vendors with track record and clients in similar industry shall be preferred. This helps in selecting software which might be having industry specific solutions, experience and understanding of industry working with the vendor. Sometimes during selection process previous experience with a particular system by one or few members of the decision making body can turn the discussion in favor of a particular system irrespective of its facilities and suitability to the present company. Such a situation needs to be avoided for proper ERP software selection.
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