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May 02, 2019

Thirteen Questions to Ask Before Considering a New ERP

 questionsAccording to Steven Scott Phillips, author of Control Your ERP Destiny: Reduce Project Costs, Mitigate Risks, and Design Better Business Solutions, here are 13 questions to ask before considering a new ERP:

Question 1:

Would ERP be one of the top priorities, considering other internal projects, initiatives, or other events?

Success of an ERP implementation requires management focus and internal resources.

Question 2:

What is really broken, the software or the current business processes?

Many times, so called software limitations are not limitations at all, when attempting to automate bad business practices.

Question 3:

When process deficiencies are the main problem, have we tried to fix the issues without new software?

Ineffective policies, procedures, measurements, and cultural issues typically have nothing to do with software, but much to do with poor business performance.

Question 4:

Will the availability of better information result in better decisions or will it make lousy managers more effective?

Systems never overcome poor management.

Question 5:

Does anyone understand the capabilities within the current software that are not utilized?

Maybe the existing software can be leveraged more. Often the capabilities of a new package look appealing, but many are unaware the current system is capable of doing the same. This is especially true of companies whose current staff are not the staff that implemented the original software.

Question 6:

Is the promise of new technology a valid reason to throw out application software that tends to work fine?

Technology is great only if it solves business problems. Try to avoid the “shiny object” syndrome, you want to avoid throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Question 7:

Do we have bad software or bad data (garbage in, garbage out)?

Clean up the data and maybe the existing system is very usable.

 

Question 8:

Is everything about the current software terrible?

With new software, there will be areas where a major step backward in functionality is inevitable. This is especially true if modifications have been made to the current systems that are unique to your business and very useful.

Question 9:

Is the current software really on the brink of being “not support” by any vendor?

They have said this for years, yet the system keeps running! If there is a problem with support from the primary vendor, what other support options are available? Usually as long as the system is stable, replacement parts are available for hardware, and there are IT resources to support the system, application software can run for many years beyond the official end-of-life date published by the vendor.

Question 10:

Can a few software modifications or enhancements to the current software satisfy 80% of the important needs – for a fraction of the time and cost?

Modifications include re-configuration of settings, designing custom reports, additional training on features not used, and adding additional applications and third party integrated solution.

Question 11:

Can a purchase “bolt-on” package do the trick versus buying an entirely new ERP system?

Bolt-on / third party integrated solutions may be the right answer to fulfill very specific needs (Electronic Document Management and Invoice Approval, Mobile Time Capture and Approval, Automated Alerts, etc.).

Question 12:

Are the savings (ROI) associated with the new software real or fluff?

If you listen to ERP vendors and do not perform own objective analysis, it may be fluff. In determining the cost of an ERP implementation you should include: your staff’s time in training, any temporary staffing needed to keep your business running, migrating data, testing and reconciliation, consulting training and implementation services, in addition to software licenses or subscriptions and ongoing services and updates, hardware or IT infrastructure upgrades.

 

Question 13:

Have you considered all the implementation and support costs in the return on investment?

In determining the cost of an ERP implementation you should include: your staff’s time in training, any temporary staffing needed to keep your business running, migrating data, testing and reconciliation, consulting training and implementation services, in addition to software licenses or subscriptions and ongoing services and updates, hardware or IT infrastructure upgrades.

 

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