Importance of Doing an ERP Software Comparison

Why should I do an ERP comparison? Have you asked yourself that question during your shopping process? What’s so important about comparing different solutions if you know exactly what you need or if you have a specific company in mind? Alternatively, why not just go with a company that has a great reputation or a company that you have a long history with? If they succeed in your other business dealings with them, then they should excel in their ERP offerings. Right?

Wrong. In business, as in life, it never pays to assume. Doing a proper ERP comparison is one of the most important steps in the ERP selection and implementation process.

Reasons to Conduct an ERP Comparison

There are a few key reasons why conducting an ERP comparison is essential. Here a few of them:

1.  Executive buy-in – The executives in the company want to know that you’ve done your due diligence. Even if they aren’t specifically asking “why this ERP solution over the others,” you should still find out. You never know the questions a CxO might decide to pop to you about the ERP project when you share an elevator with them. In addition, it shows a logical buying process aiming to acquire the best organizationally fitting ERP system. An ERP comparison will show executives that your selected solution is the best option, preventing project sabotage from above.

2.  Employee buy-in – Similar to the executives, the employees in the company can also resist an ERP implementation if you haven’t done the due diligence of a full ERP comparison. The actual users of the system need to know that you haven’t chosen a particular ERP solution arbitrarily. They don’t want to use a system that’s been forced on them from above. They want to use a system with the best capabilities, ease of use, and the ability to help them do their job better. An ERP comparison can provide you with the persuasive argument to melt their resistance. They will know they are using the best possible ERP option, preventing your project death from below.

3.  Resistance to being “sold” – A well informed customer is a smart customer. By comparing your options, seeing what features are offered by each provider, and understanding the different prices/TCOs, you can more accurately assess your ERP selection. Salespeople from their respective companies will inherently try to sell you on their solution. Don’t get sold. Do an ERP comparison. Know what’s expected, what the usual pricing levels are, and what’s important vs marketing hype. Know that your package is the best fit, don’t assume it is based on what a salesperson tells you.

4.  Expectations management – ERP solutions are not a magic bullet or a panacea. Comparing the different options–strengths, weaknesses, features, what it’s expected to do, what it isn’t–can help prevent unrealistic expectations of what the ERP system can do for you. In addition, the ERP comparison process will give you the knowledge to prevent unrealistic expectations by others in the organization. Sometimes demand outstrips supply; it’s important to know whether that situation exists. Sometimes a capability is simply technically impossible or hasn’t been invented yet.

What other reasons might an ERP comparison be important? What can happen if you get lazy? How might the lack of a regimented search process lead to a boondoggle and quagmire of a project? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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