ERP Software Selection - Simply Not What It Used to Be

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: July 16, 2018

For those who haven’t gone through an ERP software selection for years, you may recall months on end, hundreds of thousands of dollars and painful, complex methodologies.

Well, times have changed. In most cases, once you get to the point of selecting a software for your organization, it’s fairly straight forward. We recommend that organizations streamline their ERP vendor evaluation processes to make them less complicated, higher value-add, and less costly.

Below are a few considerations that have changed over the years:

The Definition of ERP: ERP these days is defined very differently for different companies. Most organizations are using multiple systems and niche solutions integrated with their core ERP. Once it is defined what “ERP” means in your organization, that definition in itself will help narrow the playing field. The trick for most companies is making the strategic determination of what ERP means to them.

Flexibility of today’s solutions: There are still considerations where a company has very specific and unique requirements that are critical to their operations and potential systems functionality will need to be verified, however base functionality is far beyond where it was years ago. Additionally, systems are so configurable that they can adapt to the majority of standard operations.

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Integrations are being built daily: One common concern in past years is building and validating integrations with legacy and other stand-alone systems. Integrations today are rarely a problem, especially with the expansion of cloud solutions. This allows for easier adoption of best-of-breed environments and confirming systems will work with each other is generally not difficult.

Google: There have been hundreds of thousands or more software selections completed over the past couple decades, and this experience lives on the internet. Additionally, functionality, system information and case studies are pumped out on a regular basis. If you want to find out if a system can handle your industry specifics and has worked with similar clients, try Google. Or, here is a good comparison of SAP S/4HANA, Oracle Cloud ERP, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Consultant Knowledge: Independent ERP consultants have been around for a long time and their experience is growing. A good consultant will inherently know where and how to guide you in a relatively short period of time, while traditional and outdated selection methodologies are going by the wayside. Throw caution if you are talking to anyone who touts a “proprietary” methodology or quotes 6 figures to select software (yes, there are exceptions), and go find a firm who has “been there done that”. The process for selecting software is relatively simple and can in many cases be done internally, and consultants should be used as needed and to help with the more important factors such as defining higher level strategies and offering guidance through a selection process.

My next post will talk more specifically to what it actually takes to select a software and share specifics of how this process has changed over the years. In the meantime, learn more from our study of 20 Lessons from Over 1,000 ERP Implementations.

Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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