While we’ve made our living helping companies select ERP systems for 25 years now, it’s always helpful and instructive to see what others have to say about how to go about selecting (or replacing) the software upon which you’ll run your business. Aberdeen Research provides a few of their own insights in a report published just this month (October, 2012).
At the top of their criteria list, not surprisingly, is the importance of having a strong plan. And the best-in-class firms they interviewed were 35% more likely than others to do so. In planning, three key strategies stood out:
- An ERP plan was devised before system selection
- The companies (the survey was comprised of responses from over 250 small to mid-size firms) employed ‘standardized selection criteria for ERP system implementation across the company’
- They used cross-functional teams from both IT and from the line of business itself to determine their selection
Companies looked at a host of topics and criteria during their search. For example…
- Are there certain criteria that are generally deemed essential?
- Was there any industry-specific functionality required?
- What is the price limit?
- Who should be involved in determining all these criteria?
One key Aberdeen finding was that while IT, finance and management should all have a hand in system selection, companies more than ever are ensuring that those involved in the “line of business,” i.e., staff charged with actually making results happen on a day to day basis, are most involved in selection. After all, who knows better what the business really needs to flow smoothly day to day?
And how does the selection process go? How were their systems chosen? The number one attribute that the best firms are looking for is, simply put, functionality. These firms have detailed plans for what they want their systems to accomplish, and they make sure their prospective software can handle those needs.
We’ll look at five other key selection criteria in our next post. Stay tuned…