When speaking with clients that are having difficulty with growth or a changing business model, there is often a sense that “things are out of control” and a belief that there “must be a better way” to run their business. Some company leaders believe that technology can be part of the solution. However, with so many different technology solutions on the market, each offering plenty of unique attributes, choosing the optimal solution for your organization can quickly become a time-consuming affair. Below is a short summary of the technology selection process in five focused steps:
• Define critical product requirements
• Narrow your search to a focused-list of solutions
• Analyze the pros and cons of the software and partner
• Determine which is the right solution for you
• Negotiate a fair deal
Below are some tips on the selection process:
- Focus on the Critical Functionality
It’s easy to get caught up in the “wish list” features of a product. In fact, looking at the bells and whistles of a technology plays right into the hands of some vendors, who have the latest “bleeding edge” glitz but lack some of your core requirements. Initially, you should focus on the vital functionality requirements and processes that the vendor's system must be able to handle. Once a comprehensive list of these scenarios has been developed, utilize them to keep your organization on track and focused during the selection process, and as an evaluation tool for comparison.
- Checking References…with a Twist
Simply asking for references from the vendor and checking to make sure the references are satisfied is not doing enough. You must dig deeper. Ask the reference if they know another of the vendor’s clients (one degree of separation) and then talk to that client. This will give you a clearer picture of the software and partner and how they are with “average” clients.
- Don’t Psyche Yourself Out
Choosing an ERP Solution is one of the most critical decisions a business will make. However, too much back-and-forth will cause your information to become outdated, and the selection process can come to a standstill.
- It’s a Business Decision
An ERP Selection project is not an IT decision; it is a business decision. When working with clients, we often see the purchasing decision primarily made by the IT department. As a result, the technology selected will be architecturally sound, yet it will be missing critical business components. All parts of the business must be represented. It is also important to establish defined roles for each member of the team. Additionally, a team manager should be chosen who understands or interacts with various parts of the business and has the authority to enforce timelines.
Prior to beginning the negotiation process, your organization has to outline the desired goals of the negotiation. You want your new partner, whomever you may choose, to be an asset to your organization. This is the time to develop that relationship. Think of the negotiation process as the “first date” of a long term relationship.
Selecting business software is one of the most critical and expensive decisions your organization will have to make. Your company will face numerous challenges on its path to the optimal selection. Regardless of whether you’re in the early initial stage, or at the very end of the selection process and are negotiating with the vendor (now partner), the tips described above will help you avoid mistakes made by other companies.
Contact Steve Kane at 301-634-2404 or [email protected] to find out how BroadPoint Technologies, with extensive experience implementing
by BroadPoint Technologies,