Choosing the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for your company can be a challenging undertaking, which is why we gave you five ERP search suggestions to help improve the success of your search in last week’s ERP Search Part I blog. Below are our remaining five tips for your consideration. Be especially vigilant as you look for potential red flags during your ERP search.
Do your Internet research, and check potential provider websites.
Google® search ERP vendors for your list of potential provider-partners, and look for favorable reviews and/or submissions to trade publications. Vendor websites with the most activity will, most likely, be the most popular, finding themselves at the top of Google’s search display. Then, visit these sites. Look for success stories, testimonials, and client case studies. What does the vendor offer for client support? Can you locate contact information, including names and addresses? You should look to web searches first, and second, ascertain if you’ve landed on a dynamic website offering plenty of information to a potential customer.
RED FLAG: The site’s design appears dated, and there is little featured activity or references.
Decide whether to hire an outside ERP project consultant or not.
A consultant can be very useful with conducting research, assisting with the crafting of the Request for Proposal (RFP) and selecting your provider-partner, or the consultant can be your “go-to” for advice during these activities. However, sometimes, a consultant can be a hindrance, especially if he/she is spread too thinly with other clients or is operating with a conflict of interest. Whether you hire one will be dependent upon the size of your company, staff availability, budget, project goals, and your vetting process.
RED FLAG: The potential consultant has a monetary relationship with one or more ERP software vendors.
Check with your network of CEO’s, CFO’s, and/or IT Managers.
Ask people you know and respect what vendor they’ve worked with on their ERP project or the vendors they interviewed in their own search. Your colleagues can address level of service and customer-service mentality, quality of the ERP software product, the reliability of the software’s performance, and the vendor’s dependability of ongoing support. If you’ve prepared your list of vendors, share it with your respected colleagues for their opinions. It is important you tap your network to locate an experienced, professional ERP software provider-partner.
RED FLAG: Think twice about making contact if your colleague’s opinion of a vendor is ambivalent. After all, you want only the best in an ERP provider-partner.
Hit the ERP vendor’s “contact us” button, and set up a conversation.
If you receive a call back within one business day you can assume the vendor is timely and interested in doing business with you. The contact page may even attempt to refine your search for the proper contact, or it may offer you additional educational materials.
RED FLAG: The vendor takes forever to call you back.
Prepare for the sales conversation.
Don’t approach a vendor’s conversation blindly. Use that list of needs that you developed in conjunction with the Project Team. Especially focus on your Top-Ten needs. The vendor’s sales representative should be open to your questions, listen to your needs, be proactive with his/her questions about your company and its situation, and actually provide you with useable information. Remember, to get the most from your conversation, it is important to prepare.
RED FLAG: When you contact the vendor, there is no actual conversation. Instead, the talk is vague or appears to be a “canned” script.
As the designer, developer, and distributor of ERP software for process manufacturers, ProcessPro has the pleasure of working with companies in the process of choosing an ERP provider-partner. Some of our best experiences with, and for, prospective clients have resulted from their preparedness. By following the suggestions we’ve outlined for you in Parts I and II of our recent blog––”10 Tips for Avoiding and Recognizing Red Flags During Your ERP Search”––you too will improve the ERP search process for everyone concerned.
Contact us, today.