5 things to know before contacting an ERP Software Provider22 Jan 2024 | by Mweri Namandwa
After speaking to thousands of companies that were in search of a new ERP software to optimise their business, we have found that those who came prepared with these 5 things had the easiest time reviewing ERP solutions. To help you achieve as seamless an ERP system evaluation process as possible, we would like to share our findings with you.
Here are 5 useful things you should make sure you know before you contact any ERP software provider:
One: Have I got the right budget for an ERP Solution?
Perhaps this may seem obvious, but you might be surprised how often companies contact ERP software providers without knowing how much they are or are not prepared to spend.
One may argue that ERP system pricing is notoriously difficult to evaluate through simple online research, therefore it is tough to begin deciding on a budget. One may also argue that ERP software providers tend to give cautious answers like “the price will depend on X, Y, Z” and formulating a budget under these conditions is tough.
Both those arguments are fair, but it does not mean that it is impossible to decide on a budget before you make contact.
The reason it is difficult to find ERP software pricing online is because ERP systems will always vary in price in accordance with the customer’s unique requirements, company size, geographic regions, resource requirements etc.
The more responsible ERP software providers are the ones who will take the time to know your business first before they ever give you budgetary prices.
After all, as the customer, you do not want to be given a low price at the beginning but get shocked by a higher budget requirement at the end of your ERP project because your ERP software provider found out too late that your requirements warrant additional implementation resources or development.
Similarly, you do not want to be put off from what could have been the perfect system because the ERP software provider ballparked you a higher price than is required to meet your business requirements.
So, despite the difficulty in finding a budget gauge early in the evaluation process, there are still ways of formulating a budget before contacting anyone or doing any online research.
Some best practices can include:
- Looking at the business challenges you are facing and putting a price on them. Asking yourself: how much would I be willing to spend to fix this situation – to resolve this business issue, to help the business grow?
- Deciding on what your spending upper limit or cut-off point is. Asking yourself: what price point would make me walk away from an ERP software project?
Consider this: there are ERP systems whose starting price might be your maximum spending limit. Therefore, knowing what this is from the very beginning will help you and the software provider filter out the systems beyond your budget and spare you from wasting valuable time on a system evaluation when the required budget is well beyond your investment limit.
Two: Have I got funding for ongoing investment in business improvement?
To yield the best results, ERP solutions require ongoing investment:
- User training for new users/employees;
- User training in the new system functions and features which are introduced after a cloud-based solution upgrade;
- Implementation of additional automation tools as and when technology changes (think AI, IoT and automation bots);
- Implementing new technology as your business requirements change; etc.
Ensure that your ERP funding provides for the initial (phase I) ERP project, future phases (if required), ongoing support, future enhancements, user training, and the adoption of new technology.
Three: What desired business outcomes am I trying to achieve?
This is another point which might seem obvious, and yet is often not thought through enough by some companies. It is very important to make the business objectives clear before you start evaluating ERP solutions.
A clearly articulated business challenge or desired business outcome will allow a good ERP software provider to determine functional requirements, budget, and timeline.
Carefully mapping your business processes based on desired business outcomes usually takes longer than companies think. This is because a lot of consultation with your business is required in order to achieve successful outcomes across your business:
- Meeting with subject matter experts to understand the requirements in each area of the business;
- Meeting with C-Level executives to make sure that they agree with the high-level business outcomes;
- Interviewing users and super users of the current systems to understand bottlenecks, challenges, and areas of potential improvement;
- Documenting business processes (current and future state); etc.
Four: Do I have buy-in from the C-Level Executives?
Changing ERP software requires substantial investment in time and money. Yes, the results will speak for themselves through quick time to value and a substantial return on investment, however, the company needs to make a commitment in the following areas:
- Investment in the initial implementation;
- On-going investment in cloud, support, and ongoing system improvement;
- A need for some of the company’s team members to be allocated to the project (their time and expertise);
- Time needs to be allocated to a change management process; etc.
The management team also needs to approve an ERP project in the following areas:
- Planned business benefits;
Five: Does the business have the right resources to implement ERP?
Resource allocation to ERP projects is critical. The availability of the right resources from the ERP implementation partner/systems integrator and the customer project team are critical to the success of the ERP project. Don’t underestimate the internal business resources required when implementing ERP solutions:
- An internal project manager to co-ordinate feedback, timelines, scope creep and get resources organised;
- A business analyst role to gather functional requirements from the business (requirements need to be documented and mapped into process flows);
- Data conversion – technical and functional resources to work through the data conversion process. This involves data extraction from legacy systems, data template work, reconciliation and extensive data checking;
- User training – ensuring users are available for user training;
- User acceptance testing – getting involvement from key users to work through user acceptance testing;
- Super users – ensuring that super users are appointed to assist other users with internal training, setting up new users and day-to-day system administration;
- Internal support – appoint a team to manage first-level support questions; etc.
As an ERP software provider, we take the approach of giving advice to assist potential clients through every step of the ERP Project journey – from product selection to implementation and support. Feel free to get in touch with the award-winning ERP team at Leverage Technologies on 1300 045 046 or [email protected] to discuss how we can implement technology to help your business grow.
Mweri has 7 years ERP marketing and sales experience. Mweri has helped more than 100 companies select the right ERP solution to help their businesses grow. With an excellent understanding of the ERP selection process, Mweri has extensive knowledge of customer ERP requirements across multiple industries.