Very often, SME does not have an in-house IT staff to assist the Management in the selection of an ERP software. Sometimes, an IT staff may also not be well equipped with the right knowledge and selection consideration. Here are some suggestions on how you can do so:
- Choosing an ERP System based on critical must have functions, not the good to have features
Some software may look very impressive in terms of interface and it may wow the audience in the demonstration. But careful assessment may reveal the lacking of functionalities within the software. Interface impression is subjective and a software can be very nice to look at but if you do not see carefully into the ease of use (not to be confused with nice interface!) and the extensiveness of features, you will face more problems during the ERP system rollout. Lacking in features will cause the ERP system rollout to fail. Of course the most ideal is that the ERP software have both functions and user friendly interface.
- Ensure that the ERP Software vendor can show mock up demo based on your actual sample data
Such exercise no doubt will spend more time on your users’ side but the effort spend will help to ensure minimum expectation gap during the ERP system implementation which will be far cheaper than a failed software investment. Data given to the ERP system vendor should cover from the start of your entire workflow down to finance accounting. If the demo cannot be simulated, chances are there are some missing workflow from that ERP Software. Do bear in mind that NOT all ERP system vendors can customize the software to your needs, especially when the ERP software is not sold directly from the principal developer.
- Avoid reliance on people whom have no actual knowledge on your business workflow and challenges
Some SME may think since they have no in-house expertise to assess a ERP software, they outsourced the selection to a 3rd party agent. However very often these freelancer has no or limited knowledge in your company actual SOP and thus, their assessment may even be less accurate than your internal department staffs.
- Using ONLY ERP software cost to eliminate vendors in 1st round
Every company definitely has a limited software budget to work with. However, using the ERP budget as the 1st round shortlisting may or may not be ideal (unless upright the budget is very far off from your original intention say your budget is $50,000 but the other software cost you $150,000 for example). For discussion purpose, let say your budget is $50,000 with vendor A quoting you $80,000 while another vendor B quoted you $50,000. But does that really mean the $50,000 software definitely can handle all features you need while the $80,000 vendor is “over-quoting” you? Careful detailed requirements assessment may give you a surprised as who knows after in-depth assessment, the $50,000 vendor B could end up quoting you $150,000 while the $80,000 vendor A may have more features and less customization and end up quoting lesser? Well again the best situation is to find the most comprehensive software with lowest budget possible but let’s face it, no matter which product or services, there is always a reason on why certain product is priced at certain level. If that particular ERP Software is not able to provide that amount of extensive functions, definitely it cannot command the price it asked for.