Congratulations on being in the market for a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. You have a long road ahead of you. There are many things to consider when looking for an ERP software, and most companies start out with the budget. While this is perfectly acceptable, do not make the mistake of making price the leading factor in your evaluation. Here is an analogy that might help explain.
Think of a cheaper, weaker ERP as a 12-ounce bottle of soda at the store. It is ready to drink right now, for a $1.50. Cheap and it will quench your thirst. You will, however, need another one, and another one. Whereas if you spend just another 50 cents, you can get an entire 2 liter of the same soda from the shelf and have glass after glass. It was a little more money yes, but it was well worth it in the long run. Let’s look at five items that you should consider at least equal to pricing when looking at a new ERP:
- See if they can fit all your key requirements
Before talking about price to vendors, it may be better to simply make a list of your key requirements so that if any are not a great fit, they can exclude themselves, saving you each some time. Simply yes or no to meeting their needs is fine, but hold onto that sheet and during the demo, make sure they were honest. If there were not, you should eliminate them immediately. They are basically saying then they will lie to get your business and you will not be happy with them.
- How well does the workflow fit your current processes?
This is easy to see by using data samples from your company within the demo. Send it beforehand and have the vendor put it in their system. Is it a simple view from page to page, project to project, station to station? Or is there a lot of bouncing around, closing/opening tabs? After seeing a few demos, the better ones will stand out. Eliminate the lesser ones as later down the road, during implementation and configuration, this will save a lot of time and money.
- How reliable are the services and support teams?
Learn more about their service and support team. Are the at HQ? Do they use third parties or outsource to different countries? What are the hours and what methods do they include in their package? All these things can have a great effect on your success after you install their ERP.
- How responsive are they throughout the sales cycle?
If you send an email asking a question after the demo, how long does it take to get a response? A company that can respond in 4 hours verses 2 days is a big difference. Also, consider who answers the question. Does the sales rep constantly have to ask other people to get answers? This would also not be a good sign.