A Four-Part Series that will take you through the basics of evaluating and selecting the right ERP system for your organization.
Part II: Define Your Business Issues & Set Your Objectives
The second step of evaluating and selecting the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for your organization is to define the business issues that your company needs to solve and then set your objectives. In this step, you aren’t listing what you want the software to do, you are listing what you want your organization to achieve by implementing a new ERP System. This ‘objectives list’ may contain items such as: ‘We want to improve productivity by 20 percent,’ ‘We want to reduce operational costs by 15 percent,’ or ‘We want to reduce inventories by 10 percent.’ On the other hand, the objectives list should not contain items about specific software features such as: ‘We want a report that…’ or ‘We want automatic emailing of… or ‘We want to push one button to do everything.’
I have seen many companies struggle in this area of the ERP Selection Process, nothing worse than getting to the table with the software vendor and not having a clear cut set of objectives. To come up with a good objectives list, invite everyone if possible - especially the people who will not be part of your ERP selection team- to contribute to the list. After coming up with a solid list- organize, prioritize and select the top three to five items that your company needs to achieve. This is your focused vision for your organization’s ERP Implementation.
Do the executives in your company agree with the selection team’s vision? If they do not agree, either convince them of your wisdom, or modify the list to meet the Executive vision. At the end of the day, your team must agree on your company’s objectives- you’ll be judging all of the ERP software packages on how well they will help you achieve that list of objectives.