When you’re trying to implement and select the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), HR/Payrollor another software for your company be sure to keep these tips in mind to help make the software selection process more efficient.
1) Create a Long List If a particular software program does not appear in your Long List It will not be picked! Include as many possible software programs as you can in the initial stages your process. You will want to include general ERP software providers as well as vendors that focus on your particular vertical market. Vertical market software is likely to provide better functionality to a particular industry than other vendors. Many DORA metrics dashboard organizations are caught in the trap of taking a look at just a few of the top brands without considering those that may not be as popular, yet have excellent products for the right situation.
2) Focus Requirements on the Differentiating Criteria Even though there may be hundreds, to thousands of operational requirements, factors that make the difference between eliminating and selecting the vendor of software can generally be listed on two to three pages. We call these key requirements “Differentiating Criteria.” Utilize these criteria to remove Software from your Long List quickly and objectively. This will make it easier to save time and allow you to focus on the most crucial requirements.
3) Select the Value Added Reseller/Implementation Partner – Many of the major mid-market software vendors sell their software through local and national Value Added Reseller’s (VARs) including Microsoft, Sage, Infor, Epicor, and others. VARs are able to demo sell, market, and install the software. Since they are independent of the software vendor it is possible to find many VARs within your region that sell the same product. Each has strengths and weaknesses. In reality, the choice of the best VAR could be the difference between success and failure of your project.
Larger tier 1 and 2 vendors such as SAP, Oracle, and Lawson provide direct implementation assistance, but also have independent implementation partners that are available to you. These partners could be more knowledgeable in your industry and have lower billing rates that the vendor’s own implementation team. Be sure to consider every option for implementation.
4) Hold Scripted Demos – When you get to a list of about 3 software companies, you need to use a scripted software demonstration process. The scripted demonstration forces either the vendor of software or the VAR to adjust the demo to highlight how they can meet your business’s specific needs. This also lets you examine the vendors on a par basis. Make sure to leave time for the vendor’s presentation of some of the bells and whistles that may be interesting.
5.) Negotiate the Contract If you decide to make your decision to purchase the software you’ll have to sign three contracts to the seller: Software License, Implementation Services and Maintenance. If you choose a software product that uses an Software as a Service (SaaS) model you will have an Service Level Agreement (SLA). You must bargain the price, but don’t forget to negotiate the details of the business aspect in the agreement as well. Software vendors create the contracts to protect their interests You must negotiate to safeguard your interests in the contract.