What to expect when choosing a new business software solution? Research Phase
Getting a business software solution or ERP and the five steps you need to take before selecting one.
Taking the decision to make a significant IT upgrade or even to invest in Enterprise level software (ERP) for the first time, can be a daunting prospect. Many people don’t have in-house IT experts on hand to guide them and may not have gone through this process before. So what should you expect?
In the next 5 Blogs in our Powerful Questions series on Business Software we will be taking a detailed look at the selection and implementation journey.
We will walk you through the process, from what it feels like to take the first steps towards selecting a new system, to singing off your project on time. We will give you top tips as we go on how you can best prepare yourself and your staff for the changes ahead so that the transition is as smooth, safe and efficient as possible.
1. Identify your requirements.
When you first start searching for a solution it is usually because you have reached the point in your business development where you know you have a problem. It may be a really nice problem, like having too many customers to keep track of or there might be a particular issue holding back your growth.
Knowing what has brought you to this point is really useful because it means you can talk to potential vendors about how they can help you solve these problems.
2. Do your research.
You can start to look for potential solutions online – most people work this way and vendors expect this. The best vendors will have lots of resources available so that you can begin to get an idea of what you want to know more about – then you can book an appointment for an initial consultation and a demonstration. Typically 3-5 vendors is ideal in the systems selection process.
3. What do you know about cloud vs. on premise?
It is really useful to do some specific research in this area as cloud is something of a game changer and may not have been around last time you looked into new systems. Many of our customers have never had this kind of business software solution before and it is all new! Cloud means the servers are not on your premises but instead you access all the business applications you need via the cloud – like the internet. You can read more about the advantages of cloud system here.
4. Think about the future.
Identifying the particular problems that you need to solve is a great start but it also helps to think about your needs well into the future. If you know that you plan to expand your product lines, introduce a new process or open up an office overseas, as part of your future growth strategy, it is really important to identify these now so that they can be integrated into your solution. Think of your IT as part of your overall business strategy not just an add-on.
5. Do the maths.
Save time by gathering the information you need to present to suppliers. How many end users do you have (including your plans for growth)? What is your budget? What are your deadlines? Does the work need to start and end before a certain business critical period e.g. Christmas? Having a clear time line will help you and your vendor bring the project in on time and when you need it without disappointment.
If you follow these guidelines you should be well placed to select the best solution for you, from a vendor you trust and at a price you can afford. Remember to pick someone you are going to enjoy working with!