Is the choice of ERP software really so difficult?
18 apr

Is the selection of an ERP software really that difficult?

Those who have a choice are spoilt for choice. This is especially true for companies that want to introduce a new ERP system today. Depending on which statistics are used, there are up to 500 different providers in the German-speaking world. The multitude of offers then hits the prospective customer with full force when he or she Selection must operate under pressure.

ERP selection under pressure

But the reality is that most companies are under pressure when the old software is to be replacedIt is rarely strategic reasons that lead to a new investment. Rather, it is because the old supplier no longer maintains the product, or ceases operations altogether, or a company has been taken over. Sometimes the entire competence leaves the company with an employee who has left. Often the thought that the service provider who programmed the customised system 10 years ago could 'hit the tree' tomorrow also causes sleepless nights.

ERP-The all-rounder

So there is usually pressure to act and the "general hunt" is declared. Usually several people, in the worst case acting independently of each other, begin to sound out the market. When talking to the league of sales staff of the ERP providers, who are let off the leash, the first impression is as follows: the technological and functional progress since the last introduction 10 years ago must have been at least an epochal quantum leap. Because suddenly there is no requirement, no matter how exotic, that an ERP system can't handle. At least that's what it sounds like on the phone. The side effect of this verbal muscle show: The lists of requirements and wishes become longer and longer as a result.

After that, the first round of the ?I-Can-Do-Powerpoint? begins. ? marathon. After a select group of employees has seen the same presentation with different logos, the result is unanimous: it's a tie. But that doesn't matter, they just wanted to get their bearings.  There will be another Specifications created.

ERP System - Make a wish

Now it is time to make a wish. Everything that PowerPoint, glossy brochures and supposedly specialised articles in supposedly specialised publications provide is written down point by point in a long Excel list, which, however, leaves so much room for interpretation that each of the providers interviewed can somehow put their cross in the right place.

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No real progress has been made and perhaps a few basic thoughts should have been given beforehand. A few suggestions here from my side:

  1. Define your needs

    You know your company best! So you should also know what the most important requirements of the new software are. Determine which core processes you have and which part the ERP system should take over. These are the first criteria for eliminating the first providers that do not meet these requirements.
  2. Pay attention to expandability and future-proofing

    You will probably have an ERP system in use for the next 10 years. It is more than likely that new developments in the market will take place during this period. The system should be flexible enough to react to the passage of time. At the same time, the future of the provider should be presentable. Ask! What does the development plan of the software look like?
    Critically question the business policy of the partner. Is the product he is offering you really part of his core business? Does he have the substance to survive the competition in the industry over the next 10 years? Does he mainly distinguish himself by buying customers through takeovers or is it a long-term strategy to orientate himself towards customer wishes? Remember that you are in all likelihood growing. The software should be able to do that with you.

  3. Define internationalisation as a must

    In a world determined by globalisation, the ability of business software to move and network in this environment is an indispensable must. Be it the new branch in China or the business partner in the USA. The ability to business processes A new system must be able to map the data across national borders.
  4. See integration as an opportunity

    For decades, ERP manufacturers have sung the praises of the complete solution. and this means that only if all the software packages in the company are removed and replaced by one large software package, can consistent processes be guaranteed. Is that really still the case? Ask yourself which applications are still doing their job very well, or whether it is not better to use special software for a specific process. There are now some providers who technology on board, to integrate such packages without having to make huge efforts for interfaces.
  5. Ask about the standard and its adaptability

    standard software maps core processes of an industry. That is the duty.  The free skate, however, is to be able to adapt these processes to your peculiarities. And without changing the logic of the programme and thus making every update of the programme an expensive adventure. However, don't forget: sometimes you have to make sacrifices in detail for high flexibility. A balance must be found here. Do not be tempted by squaring the circle. If a provider tries to offer you standard software as the basis for a Individual development to sell, then you run the risk of bringing the disadvantages of both worlds into the house.
  6. Look for a partner, not a vassal

    That Consulting firm or the software partner already have both in their name. There should be a partner who can advisebecause he may already be drawing on experience from many previous projects that you do not have. The human component in an ERP implementation project should not be underestimated and it can happen that the chemistry between people is not right and they have to be replaced. In ERP projects there is almost always a point where tensions arise. Here, you need people who can discuss and not a yes-man.
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