Failed software projects are a well-documented risk in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) industry. A straightforward and mature solution like Microsoft Dynamics® GP obviously presents a much smaller risk profile than a mega-suite, and ideally, installing a barcoding solution for inventory or asset control should be even less risky. But when you are extending Dynamics GP into a warehouse management system (WMS), these WMS project fails can and do take place.
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- Pay attention to the timeline. Your vendor should be able to complete implementation in a matter of two weeks or so. Ask about the typical implementation timeline, which may vary considerably between a straightforward barcode vendor with extended functionality for warehouse management or asset management and something like a standalone WMS, which may carry a higher risk profile.
- Is there a separate database to be integrated with Dynamics GP? This is a simple "yes" or "no" question to ask. Does the vendor's solution use Dynamics GP as the data master, or is there a separate database that must be synchronized? Synchronizing databases leaves you with two versions of the truth, but also adds a degree of risk and complexity to the project that sometimes is too much to overcome.
- Look for knowledge of the underlying ERP package. Vendors that are very familiar with the underlying ERP application may also be able to get a data capture project completed more reliably and satisfactorily than one that divides itself across a broader number of ERP products. So specialization and deep applicaton knowledge is one more factor to look for that could mitigate unneccessary risk. A vendor whose product supports Dynamics GP, Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV and perhaps products from Oracle, SAP, Epicor or even SAP may not have the deep familiarity with Dynamics GP that could help assure your project success.
- Pay attention to scope. Of course any software project can fail if the scope agreed to is not adequate, and some vendors will in fact underestimate the level of effort needed to get customers live so they can undercut competitors on price. Getting as close to an apples-to-apples comparison of the project scope will help mitigate risk that a vendor will jack up the project cost after a contract is signed. Make sure to consider not only the project cost itself, but fees a vendor may try to collect after go-live. One red flag to look for is a vendor that requires you to agree to pay for an extensive number of support hours as part of a maintenance package. This could on the one hand indicate that the solution may not be reliable, but can also mean the vendor is trying to hide project cost by moving it onto maintenance or support fees.
Learn more about how to mitigate your WMS project risk