You can waste months and spend thousands on ERP selection for your business. The fact is that conventional vendor selection often does more harm than good. There is a better way to choose vendors much quicker and intelligently.
Caution: This article is not intended for the following audience:
- Government and other organisations that have red tape structures in place
- Rather than channelling your time and resources, your priority is to cover yourself
- If you have a unique business that does not fit within traditional business types like manufacturing, retail, professional services
Ripping apart the standard Vendor selection process
ERP consultants run workshops to understand and document the business requirements. They write the requirements, create a selection criterion to evaluate the software. They mark each need with tags like – Must Have, Should Have, Nice to Have.
Then, depending upon various dynamics, you may request ERP vendors for RFP, RFT submissions. Next, there is a multi-stage selection process, contract negotiation and vendor selection finalisation.
The process takes between 3 to 6 months and costs you between $60-$120K.
On the surface, it may look like a logical process.
But, do we bother about this?
Getting back to basics and using common sense
For selecting a home builder, will you go to a consulting firm to assist with Builder selection?
Instead, you may ask around your friends, look out for their reviews and liaise with the handful.
Unwrapping quick and dirty ERP selection approach
Consider you are an executive within a retail hardware business. MD of the company asked you to choose ERP for the business. Instead of outsourcing the work, you decided to get your hands dirty.
This is what you did:
- You prepared a list of companies that are similar to your’s (offering, size, complexity)
- You dig out contacts from these companies and asked for assistance in sharing their ERP journey
- You have engaged appropriate stakeholders from your company in this process
- You took detailed notes about the star ERP products, vendors, and key lessons learnt
- You validated your notes based on ERP Selection portals like TEC, ERP Focus
- You also noted industry-specific IP (Customisations/Mods) that the vendors have developed
With this information, you go to the market well informed – what to ask for? Who to go to? Potential risks to look for. You get the point.
Now this approach, though simple, is very profound.
All it needs is for you to be uncomfortable. If you are prepared to get out of your comfort zone, the rewards are enormous!
Look, this approach is not for everyone. But suppose you have the flexibility and freedom to adopt it. In that case, you can cut a considerable amount of time and cost. It is a common-sense approach. You will need you to get up from your comfy chair and learn from the people who have done this before.
Please do not hold back. Give it your best shot!
You will not believe it; even your competitors will hold your hand and tell their ERP story.