Selecting the Right System and Vendor
Jim Collins, author of four international bestselling business books notes: “We tend to think that decisions are very much about ‘what.’ But when I look at my research notes or at interview transcripts from the executives we’ve interviewed, one theme that comes through is that their greatest decisions were not ‘what’ but ‘who’. They were people decisions.”
All important decisions are fraught with uncertainties that no degree of planning can eliminate. So what is the key to preparing for that uncertainty? Make sure you have the right people, who you can trust, with you.
Having arrived at the point where the suggested pre-work on the needs for an ERP system is complete, the selection process can begin and the right decision made. Based on the pre-work described in my previous blog, the remaining pieces of pre-work can begin.
- Formulate clear and unambiguous policies and guidelines. This process involves making the parameters of the selection explicit. For example, whether to accept a customized solution that adapts to the business, or whether it is more prudent to adapt the business to the system, or even whether you can find a configurable solution that is a close fit with a bit of tailoring, to suit your business.
- Formulate a structured, rigorous selection process. From your business processes you will be able to define the core functional requirements. You should also define non-functional requirements such as scalability, and the stability of the vendor.
From all the insights, information and input that have been gathered, you will be able to compile the requirements and criteria for selecting an ERP application for your business.
At this point you can confidently develop a long list of vendors. Based on your requirements and criteria, cull that list to no more than four. Evaluate the vendors by asking for demonstrations to a pre-defined script, and score each one against your requirements and criteria.
A critical part of the success of your ERP is working with a company that can solve the inevitable problems, and also get on with the people in your company they are going to work with. The vendor’s company and the product they install must have a track-record and technical depth that gives you comfort, as well as customers who can endorse and verify what the vendor is telling you.
Great decisions are not only “what” decisions, but “who” - when you are satisfied with the “what,” evaluate the “who.” There is no certainty in any implementation, so it is important to have the right people on your side.