In today’s Amazonian environment, customers expect rapid delivery, over and beyond from cradle to grave, collaborative service, 24/7 accessibility and last-minute changes. Executives are realizing they must upgrade their technology infrastructure to meet and exceed these customer expectations while driving bottom line improvement.
Your ERP decision will be one of the most significant investments your company will undertake, and these projects are wrought with risk. 80% fail to achieve the expected results yet waiting “too long” can put you out of business.
Selecting an ERP System is a Strategic Priority
Because of the significant customer and bottom-line benefit and steep, unintended consequences associated with these projects, the most successful clients realize they must be a strategic priority. By no means should the decision by relegated to a technical expert or project manager. Involve your best and brightest on the team and ensure your executive team is on top of preparation, progress, and the inevitable pitfalls. Beginning with preparation:
- Understand business processes: Start by understanding what occurs on a day-to-day basis. One of the top failure points is to assume that people can make the leap from current processes to what every ERP provider claims to be “best practices” on day 1 with no roadmap.
- Gain strategic and cross-functional input– Since all systems will perform the basics well, success will boil down to what drives your strategy and supports your cross-functional and cross-organization collaboration.
- Identify critical requirements– Countless hours wasted on typical business requirements (which all systems generally cover); instead, focus 80% of your attention on the requirements unique to your business, industry, and company. Think customer differentiation & profit drivers.
- Prepare data and be realistic evaluating your process disciplines– No matter how well you prepare, your system will only be as good as your data and process disciplines.
- Dedicate appropriate resources – Be an exception. Supplement your resources, bring on appropriate expertise early on and be willing to invest in what will ensure success and mitigate your risk.
5 Critical Factors in Selecting ERP Software
As complicated as most companies seem to make it, the critical factors in software selection boil down to a select few:
- Your business objectives – Don’t worry about everything required in every module to run your business. Instead, take a step back and focus on what you need to meet your grow and profit plans.
- Cloud or not? It depends. Dig into the details. Develop your own spreadsheets with paybacks. Consider your technical resources, adeptness with topics like cyber security and the latest technology, and your ability to navigate disruption and risk.
- Understand your culture – what are your cultural norms when it comes to change? Do your employees have an entrepreneurial spirit or do they require strict procedures? These answers will be integral to aligning culture and technology.
- Think about design upfront – Not thinking through down-the-line implications will derail the best of projects. Incorporate design and a holistic systems-view upfront.
- Ballpark estimates and ranges – Get a ballpark upfront, and never accept the first estimate. It’s typically too low! Worse yet, two suppliers that should be within 10% of one another can be 100% different. Ensure you are comparing apples to apples, and remember implementation, not software, is the 80-pound gorilla of ERP success.
ERP is a tough topic! Clients worry they are “too small” or it will be “too expensive”, and in the interim, the competition passes them by since having the technology that supports a superior customer experience without breaking the bank is a “must”, no matter your size or industry. With that said, we have seen clients ready to “throw out” a perfectly suitable ERP system as they think it is the system, not the process or people that is the issue when it isn’t. If you’d like an expert to assess your situation to partner with you to achieve these types of results, contact us.