The games we play

4 games you shouldn’t play when shopping for a new ERP

In principle, choosing a new ERP seems a simple enough exercise. After all, you’ve made some large purchases before for the business, you know the process, and it’s paid off in the past.

So, you do some internal brainstorming, and write up requirements and send out an RFP to some likely implementation partners. The ones you found through Google, saw on LinkedIn or that someone mentioned to you.

You get in the responses. There’s some pretty keen pricing, and lots of promised business benefits, so it’s looking good. You invite the top five potential partners in to see you. And the ones with the best price, they’re on fire. Sharp with the pencil, super confident and ready to start now. So, you sign the dotted line.

Let’s stop right there.

Because sadly, we’re veterans at picking up the pieces of failed or poor implementations. Often it’s been nothing to do with the solution, and everything to do with the implementation partner.

Here’s my take on how to avoid playing games with your time, money and the future of your business.

ONE. Never play hide and seek

Yep, this is all about hidden costs. A proper implementation isn’t just about getting the solution into the business and working. It’s about the time taken to roll out a complete and comprehensive business solution that has been thoroughly specified (to meet your needs), developed, tested, and includes all the integrations and interfaces required to leverage the other solutions you rely on, data conversion (to move your old business critical information into the new ERP), personalised invoice templates and forms, and setting up reports (so you have real-time information to make your decisions with). And if those costs aren’t in the proposal or scoping documents, you’ve got trouble.

A good partner will provide pricing for everything, or clearly call out the assumptions that they have made to cover for the above as these are the real tricky bits in any ERP implementation. There won’t be any unexpected costs that blindside you halfway through the project and stop you in your tracks.

TWO. Run a mile from cowboys and Indians

There are cowboys in every business. Sure, they can get your ERP in, and even running, within your timeframe and budget. But what about all the other things that you didn’t know you didn’t know? Like the integrations you needed, the current transactional and historical data, the reports that do what you want them to do. The licences you didn’t realise you needed.

Unless you’ve done this all before, you simply won’t know what’s missing from a proposal. It’s easy to end up with a job half done. If in doubt, take an apples-to-apples approach and carefully compare what’s included in each proposal – line by line.

And check out credentials. Cull the cowboys. Before you choose your partner make sure they’re on your side and have your interests – and successful business outcomes - at heart.

THREE. Accept that you’re not MasterChef material

Don’t invest in a half-baked cake. You may be offered a cut-price option, sometimes called a ‘guided implementation’, which in essence, has the partner supplying the software, while you provide the resources to do all the heavy lifting under their supervision. Sounds like an excellent way to save money, right?

If you do have the capacity and capability to undertake some of the project tasks, while you are also doing your day job, great! But, the reality is that unless you have significant internal resources with expertise and availability, the meal will be late to the table at best, and a no-show at worst.

You need precise, detailed recipes and trained, professional chefs, sous chefs and service staff with extensive experience who do all the hard parts. And a test kitchen. And some award-winning reviews never hurt either. This way you’ll get a fully implemented and operational ERP on go live, and not an expensive half-baked flop.

FOUR. Don’t let the Changing Rooms team in the door!

Have you ever seen that UK TV reality programme called Changing Rooms? The unsuspecting house owner is taken out by friends or family for a jaunt. While they’re away, the worst room in their house is redecorated. The outcomes are pretty hit and miss. And you can often see the home owner trying to hide their dismay when finally surprised with their new look gothic living room.

Change shouldn’t be a surprise. Especially given the impact a good ERP implementation will have on your business. A good partner will take your business and people through a process to support the change management, so the solution is delivered to your business expectations. If your people aren’t along for the ride, they simply won’t adopt the solution – and that’s the no. 1 reason for ERP failure.

And in case you didn’t know, Changing Rooms has a dedicated clean-up team to put right any decorating disasters. We know that feeling, that’s why we invest in engaging your users and stakeholders as part of the change process.

Play to win

The upshot of all these ‘games’ is that we see businesses who have never gone live and the solution is in a state of atrophy, or they aren’t transactional, don’t know how to or don’t want to use their solution, and are certainly not self-sufficient. They took a risk – knowingly or otherwise - and didn’t come out on the winning side of a cut-price implementation.

We do full service ‘turnkey’ implementations. We walk in, get to know you well, understand your expectations, do the job properly, work alongside and train your people, and when we’re finished you’re up and running and realising value from your new ERP solutions. And if you need ongoing help, we’re always there to support you. We don’t just ride off into the sunset. No cowboys here.

We use our expertise, experience and upfront pricing to leave your business in great working shape. Not struggling with a game you just can’t win.

 

Lisa Nicks, ERP Sales Manager

lisa.nicks@fusion5.co.nz

Phone +64 9 379 0525

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