“It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.” —Jim Rohn
ERP solution is one such decision for the businesses that make growing and prospering impossible, if not employed in the digital universe. But, the degree to which the ERP solution helps in streamlining the business’ operations, taking the precise, data-driven decisions, reducing costs, minimizing waste, and increasing throughput, the equally difficult is the decision for an ERP partner to make.
It’s because the business is implementing the ERP across the business processes not just as a solution, instead, the business has started a journey with the ERP vendor that will continue as long as business will operate. Yes, ERP implementation is not a configure-and-forget type solution.
There are plenty of ERP solution providers on the market, and the only one will be right for you. When you begin searching, you have to filter through all the features, capabilities, and the staff. Again, you will find many ERP vendors that sound alike, offering the same features with nearly equal capabilities that muddy the water. For making this critical decision, a lot of other things need to be carefully weighed.
Here’s the checklist that helps you single out the right vendor that acts as a perfect ERP partner for you:
- Experience counts
Experience can’t be taught, but it’s gained from the lessons of the past, no matter how they are- positive or negative. The ERP implementation is the same learned behavior that stands high on the ladder when the depth of experience is high. It means the vendor having a great experience, he can help you with the process to be followed, and how the necessary customizations can make the ERP best suit the business-specific needs. Check if the company has experience of working with such size and type of business or not.
- Check the expertise in a niche industry
Regardless of how much experience the ERP vendor has in implementing the solution across the globe, it’s essential to identify the mastery or necessary knowledge of working with your industry because specialization in a few strengths creates a great difference when it comes to ERP implementation. Ensure the implementation partner is the maestro of your field to get seamless consultation at every point of the way.
- Ask for references
None other than the existing customers can better tell you about the quality of services, plus points, and weakness of the ERP vendor. Before signing off the contract with ERP partner, it’s better to check the references, contact them, and visit the site (if possible). Well, the leading ERP partners readily provide the references, but it’s not the case with all vendors. It’s better to ask for the references from the upfront, and insist on the communication and a cup of tea with them.
Talk to the existing customers in-person or via communication channels to know the ERP performance, how ERP solutions get fit with the business processes, the consultation services, benefits they received, and any hiccups in the journey post-partnership.
- Check Compatibility
The data flow between the business processes and ERP modules should be seamless to keep the data updated across every touchpoint, and that’s possible when the ERP solution is compatible with the business processes. Sometimes, when the new ERP versions are released, the companies have to upgrade them at the right time to ensure the business stay compatible with the ERP.
The long-term relationship with the vendor is a long-distance relationship that starts with implementation and continues until the business is using the updated ERP versions. Investigate if ERP is compatible with the business modules and the folk will work together from the get-go.
- Integration capability
Certainly, no business is going to create new infrastructure or redesign the systems just for the sake of adopting a new ERP solution to enhance the business processes and workflow. The ERP should smoothly integrate with the business’ existing systems to ensure excellent services. Scrutinize ERP integration capabilities with your business model to avoid future conflicts.
In the present date, no business can specify the level to which the business and its user base will grow. What would happen if the business wants to add a line of business, expand to a new market, or open a new warehouse, and the ERP vendor has set t needs in stone? It’s terrible. The businesses are left with two options- either make a switch to a new ERP solution or cease the growth. Of course, both options are not viable.
Before finalizing, make sure the ERP system is scalable with growing business modules and size. Here, going with cloud ERP is a great choice that allows the businesses to scale up or scale down the resources in a hassle-free way.
- Post-sales support
Initially, the required training and documentation are provided to the business for easy and swift implementation. Additionally, support for troubleshooting is also offered. Most often, the partners have a physical presence in the organizations during implementation, but it’s not necessary for future upgrades.
The partner is not done with the job when the ERP implementation is over, instead, they are responsible to provide on-going support. Identify the post-sales support services that vendor offer in the form of various alternatives (Phone calls, Live support, message chat, or email) and the total cost of ownership.
- Certifications and Accreditations
Undoubtedly, every ERP vendor works hard to make the ERP solution and services fit into the partnering company’s shoes. The reputation, credibility, and integrity matters a ton, but cannot surpass the recognitions that vendors receive from the software providers or OEM. Many ERP partners are labeled as a Silver partner, Gold partner, or Managed partner, which are the quality awards they won due to the level of commitment towards the services they offer. The earned accolades can also help in filtering the vendors to 1 or 2 from the shortlisted vendors.
When the organizations find the existing systems are making it harder to move forward, it’s the time of action where ERP implementation comes on priority. When you consider the alternatives and weigh the capabilities, it appears difficult to differentiate them and make the right decision. That’s why we have created a checklist of 10 points that help businesses test the vendors’ claims and mitigate the risks of making the wrong decision that regret them down the road.
Go beyond the traditional approach and check the vendors against 10 points to know whether they are out of scope or fit your business-specific needs. Good luck!