Can’t see the forest through the trees? Part 2

How to move forward productively with your ERP or business transformation initiative

In your journey to move to a new ERP system, there are so many factors in need of consideration that it can feel almost impossible to narrow down what specific criteria you should consider. Last time, we discussed the external criteria for consideration. Now it’s time to turn inward.

How to Move Forward

Once you have established your criteria for consideration, what’s next? Before you go too far down the road of looking for a specific solution, you will have hopefully compiled a list of functionalities that represent your needs, so you can ask potential providers to demonstrate for you how they can address your specifics. 

This sounds like a simple matter of interviewing the user base and compiling a list of requirements for an RFP. However, there are some additional steps that are crucial to making this work.

The first of these additional and crucial steps is understanding management’s view of the future state. You need to account for the vision of how the company might look 10 years from now and make sure you have built those requirements into your search. To be of most value, this vision needs to be combined with a knowledge of best practices to support those initiatives.

The second step is using the rear view mirror. Sometimes in interviewing users who have operated a system for a long period of time, we find that they have incorporated bad practices or inefficiencies in order to get around limits of the old system. If the user does not know what is possible in a modern ERP product, it’s hard or even impossible to know what to ask for.

After these steps, you will likely compile a list of potential vendors and then invite them to come onsite or ask for a demonstration over the web. Unless you are a committee of one, you will pull together a team of users and executives to sit through these demonstrations and attempt to narrow the options down to a few vendors who seem to have the right fit.

The challenge now is getting the selection team who just sat through 7 or 8 presentations to sit through longer demonstrations as you narrow down your short list. Trying to coordinate the team’s individual schedules with the availability of the vendors may require a small system of its own. The longer this process drags out the less enthusiastic the user community will be. This leads to difficulty in making the final selection and calling vendors back for secondary demos.

The safest, and often most efficient, solution to the expounding problems above is utilizing a team of industry experts, who not only know the vendor landscape but have deep expertise in the manufacturing industry. The first benefit in doing so is it will expedite the time it takes for your team to make a decision. This in turn reduces costs and provides a more certain result. Our experts at KnowledgePath do exactly that. Their background and experience help you remove unknowns and guesswork. When you let us clear the landscape for you, you are able to see and focus on the most important considerations for your unique decision.