As with many North American companies, our client’s business has shifted seismically in the last handful of years. Previously, manufacturing accounted for almost 95% of its business. Now, manufacturing represents a paltry 15% of its business, with distribution accounting for the balance. Given this business shift, our client questioned whether its existing ERP software had the bandwidth to support its distribution-focussed operations.
That’s where we came in. We were hired to help our client find the right-fit software. For six months, we managed a due diligence project on prospective ERP software applications. Here are four key takeaways:
Map the business processes. By documenting our client’s business processes, we allowed our client to to see how the future software was intended to fit into its business. This mapping process also allowed us to develop software requirements based on our client’s business process needs.
Give the vendors plenty of RFP response time. We managed the selection project according to an aggressive timeline. As a result of the short response period, certain vendors elected not to respond. They were incapable of allocating sales resources within the mandated timeframe. If clients have the flexibility, we recommend giving vendors at least a month to respond to an RFP.
Involve the key users in the vendor demonstrations. Our client did an excellent job in this respect. It made sure key users from all functional departments were involved. The key users scripted key business scenarios that the vendors were required to demonstrate. They also provided meaningful feedback on the demonstrations, from functionality and usability perspectives.
Use a seasoned IT contracts negotiator. Our client is leveraging our IT analyst and lawyer in its contract negotations. We are helping the client achieve key monetary concessions. Equally important, we are helping our client negotiate the non-monetary conditions that affect its rights and obligations.
Your REQs (Relevant Experiences and Questions)
We’ve only listed a few of the key components to a systems selection project. What’s important to your project?
- Evaluation Scorecards?
- Vendor responsiveness?
- Reference checks?
Jonathan Gross, an IT analyst and lawyer, is responsible for Pemeco’s system selection services. Feel free to contact him.
Also published at CompareBusinessProducts
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Whether your company is in the early stages of planning its digital transformation or is evaluating ERP vendors, you need to make sure you’re making the right decisions at each stage.
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