Make ERP selection exciting (for all) and valuable

17 September 2019

Written by René Hol

Once a company decided that a renewal of the ERP application(s) is needed, and the vision is transferred into a blueprint of the future, the selection process can start. Often that process is seen as necessary, but not very much enjoyable experience. And that is unjustified. The selection process can be very mobilizing and is the first stage of implementation. Obviously, you must choose the right method, and don’t fall back to traditional bureaucratic and technocratic approaches. The method introduced in this blog has proven to be successful and valuable for an organization.

The method prescribes 4 stages. Starting point indeed is a vision and a business blueprint based on the strategic course and aims of the firm.

Stage 1. Pre-selection of app. 3 candidate solutions.
These candidate solutions are functionally selected based on the pre-defined list of what we call ‘critical aspects’. Experts in our company based on many selections during 3 decades have compiled and refined a list of app. 25 critical aspects. These critical aspects bridge the core business typology characteristics with the data structures of the ERP systems – in other words, which ERP packages fit the DNA of a company. Critical aspects have an in-depth focus on the role of the customer, the customer order, the customer product specs, the product nature and the production systems. Additionally, during pre-selection you must look at requirements like cloud, service y/n to be provided by a software vendor, budget range, company size vs package complexity fit, etc.

Stage 2. Selection.
We explicitly recommend to ‘test’ the pre-selected vendors with a dedicated demo case script: your company strongly compressed but with all critical needs in it. The demo by the vendor is a very sharp knife cutting to see the potential and fit of their system. A good demo script is extremely demanding to the consultant. The data set should be conceptually correct. During the demos a quite big group of participating people will get many inspirations to enrich the company’s blueprint from the previous phases. The demo approach is also a unique opportunity for the supplier to demonstrate their value and strengths. At the end of this testing stage the favorite solution is selected.

Stage 3. Pre-implementation workshop(s) with the preferred package.
In this stage the system will be pre-configured according to the blueprint of the company. At the end of this stage the attachments for the final contract are stipulated. It provides better early stage control of interfaces/integrations and data conversion challenges. At the beginning of this stage the company and supplier sign a letter of intent with settlement of pricing and how the stage will be reimbursed. In this workshop the logical patterns of the software are again an important input to optimize company’s blueprint. After the workshop the implementation can have a kick-off start with immediately conference room pilot kind of activities.

Stage 4. Agreement.
With the letter of intent and the results of the pre-implementation workshop in their hands, both parties can work on the final agreement. This needs a careful treatment due to the significant amount of money involved and the inherent risks in this kind of implementations. Resource claiming is a key attention point.

The total process takes about 9 months as an average.

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