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10 Tips for Successfully Selecting an ERP System -Tip #1

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Whatever process you have taken, you have finally arrived at the point where your company is going to start the journey of selecting and implementing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. You have strong executive leadership and buy-in, now what? There’s a common phrase that states, “you only get out what you put into it”. Simply put, how well or poorly you plan a project or initiative will largely pre-determine the outcome. Now, you are venturing into the ERP application space. To select the best, most appropriate application and vendor, there are key points that are common, if not universal, to companies that have been successful with their ERP projects.

In this ongoing series, we’ll share best practices garnered from decades of working with customers whose ERP implementation success was pre-determined by their planning and execution thereof.

1. Ensure the Project is Properly Staffed and Budgeted

2. Establish an Executive Sponsored Project Team

3. Make a Requirements List but Focus on the High-Level Differentiators

4. Plan for What You Need Today and Tomorrow. Or as Wayne Gretzky said: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

5. Be Open with Your Vendors

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

7. Limit Your Short List and Schedule Demos Fairly Close Together

8. Focus on Value vs. Features

9. Focus on The Implementation Partner during your Selection Process

10. Get References and Exploit Them

Tip #1-Ensure the Project is Properly Staffed and Budgeted

Stakeholders on both sides must know what can be spent and how much time can be allocated to the project as well as recognizing the effort required to sustain their daily responsibilities. Everyone in the project needs to understand the vision. Unfortunately, many get into the beginning stages without planning budget and resources including project staffing. Consequently, they begin the discovery phase while simultaneously coming up to speed on the initial project requirements.

A typical ERP implementation will usually require three to fifteen full-time equivalent (FTE) resources. Expect those associated with the project team to spend 20 – 40% of their time throughout the life of a project, providing their insight and expertise into the heart of the technology. Ensure that the executive team outlines the anticipated benefit as well as the initial spending goal. A guideline to follow is the mid-market rule of thumb which is ½ - 1% of annual revenues.

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