When beginning the search for an ERP software solution, it can be easy to immediately feel overwhelmed with all of the options. Once you have decided on the ERP solution that you would like to go with, it is important to remember there is an entire process (implementation) that is soon to follow. Each ERP vendor has their own way of going about this.
Not every Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software provider will follow the same process from start to finish. With that in mind, this post is meant to give you an idea of what an ideal A to Z process would be. This would begin from the initial reach out to the very end if you decided to pick this vendor.
Step One: The initiation
This is the most universal of the entire process; it is up to you to let the ERP vendor know you are interested in learning more about their products. A phone call, email, or filling out a contact form on their website is the easiest way to do it.
Step Two: First contact
It should not take more than twenty-four hours for the vendor to reach out to you. If they are sincerely wanting to earn your business, expect a phone call. If they do not call you back or choose to send you an email within twenty-four hours, I would not consider that vendor as it is common practice to do it well before that time.
The initial conversation is usually going to be between you and an inside salesperson. Here, they should be able to give you ballpark pricing, review your requirements/needs, and find any potential speed bumps. A lot of ERP vendors are smart enough to not waste their or your time if there is a massive budget difference or key requirement they cannot meet.
Step Three: Overview demo
After the vendor passes the qualifying round, it is time to see a demo. There should be a product demonstration that goes through the specifics of your needs, along with a Q&A. It is your responsibility to get everyone involved in the evaluation process to see this demo. The more questions, the better as these will help separate some vendors from the others.
Step Four: Demo with data or repeat demo for others
At this stage, you should have a short list of vendors, about two or three. Now, you can give some of your data to the vendors to create a demo system with your data. They can show you from quote to shipped product how their system would run your business. This is a time to work out any small issues and see the configuration the ERP can do to meet your processes.
Step Four: Make a selection
The last and final stage involves you making your selection. If there is a clear front runner, the choice should be easy after four. However, if multiple seem to do the job, then ask for contracts from them all and compare both the upfront and long-term costs more closely.