This is a question that has been around since the early days of consultants offering help with selecting ERP software. It has been a growing and very lucrative business over the past couple decades, and companies have certainly needed assistance in navigating the array of available solutions and vendor promises.
So, the easy answer is yes, companies do need help with their ERP software selection, but how much?
Below are a few factors to help you determine how much help you really need:
How big are you: It may seem that the larger the enterprise the more help they will need in selecting software, but this is not really the case. Fortune 500 or even 1000 companies don’t have a ton of options when it comes to their ERP and there are only a handful of solutions that can handle that level of operations. Same goes with smaller organizations. While any ERP “could” potentially run a small company, cost considerations will narrow this down quite quickly. System availability for company size follows a bell curve, where those in the middle ranges simply have more options available.
How complex are you: Similar to size, complexity follows a similar pattern. Any company that has very basic operations can adopt almost any ERP, while those that have complexity or varied operations will ultimately have less to chose from. Keep in mind that the more complex you are; however, you may still need help identifying which processes and requirements will need to be validated against software options.
How dedicated and experienced are internal resources: More and more companies seem to be self-selecting their software recently. This is fine, as long as the people doing the work actually have the time and necessary experience. Don’t expect to simply add “software selection” to someone’s existing job requirements, or you will very likely end up with the wrong software. Also, if you are going to put someone in charge, make certain they are at a level to understand the global needs of the organization.
How good is your enterprise technology roadmap: This is essential. If you have clearly defined what you need ERP to do for your organization and have clearly outlined needed process modification and integrations, then you are well on your way. Selecting a software with well-defined requirements is fairly straight forward. Where most companies fail is on the execution of their roadmap, either in the implementation of technology, process or change management.
What is your timeline? Before you say “yesterday”, consider how long you have been running on legacy software and using bad processes. Chances are your company will survive a few more months. If you are truly in a rush, then hire a consultant to help.
These are just a few of the factors to consider. Independent experts like those at Third Stage Consulting Group can help you make your decision quickly so you can focus more of your time and effort on a successful implementation.
Learn more by reading about our top 20 lessons from over 1,000 ERP implementations.