With so many ERP options in the marketplace today, selecting a package for your business can be an overwhelming task. There are thousands of so called ERP experts out there. But the truth is no one understands your business like you do. In the real estate business especially, there is a lot of dynamism today and with new rules, regulations and introduction of online tendering in construction, the expectations from an ERP system are high.
There are numerous horror stories of failed ERP selections and implementations. While many companies feel that any software will work, and their organisations will simply conform to the functionality of the software, widely-publicized ERP failures indicate that this isn’t the best solution.
Further, since ERP should be a transformational business initiative providing key competitive advantages to your company, the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly or made with incomplete information.
So what’s the best way to find the ERP solution that’s going to be the best fit for your organisation? Here are seven steps to help you choose the right software for your organisation:
- Conduct a process review and analysis:
Since ERP is first and foremost a business initiative, you should first define and document your current business processes, its weaknesses and strengths. This analysis should also include what you think your processes should look like in the future and the corresponding business requirements. Think, for instance, whether the ERP can assist you in generating a pragmatic BOQ & Estimation to prepare a tender. Potential software vendors should be able to demonstrate their product’s capabilities to meet those requirements.
- Get the matches and explore each of them:
Potential ERP providers can return the most relevant options available on the market once you brief them about your specific needs. Have an open minded conversation with each matched provider to adjudge whether they are equipped to deliver what you are looking for. A demo can give you a clearer picture of what the solution can deliver. Also, selecting the right ERP vendor is as important as selecting the right ERP system to make sure that you get your targeted return on investment.
- Compare proposals and check references:
Make sure you get a formal proposal from each of your top providers and then compare them. Ask for referrals from new and old customers of your potential ERP partner. The willingness of existing clients to share their time in this way speaks of their feelings about the value they are receiving from their ERP vendor.
- Develop a realistic implementation plan:
It’s important to develop a comprehensive project plan that includes not just the activities required to install the software, but the ones that are required to ensure that the solution is fully functional, tested, and accepted by end-users. This plan should be developed prior to your final software decision so you fully understand the cost and resource commitments required to make the project a success.
- Make an informed decision:
After going through all the above-mentioned steps, finally it is time to make a sound decision.
Before making the final decision remember that the end goal is to make your business more efficient and profitable. So go for an ERP that provides the strongest overall return, rather than the one which appears to be the cheapest. Also, too many companies choose a solution based on brand name or what competitors are doing. Instead, you need to consider the options that are going to best meet your unique business requirements and sources of competitive advantage. Lastly, be open to objective and independent advice.