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Friday, October 10, 2014

Your company needs a new ERP system. Where do you start?

A Four-Part Series that will take you through the basics of evaluating and selecting the right ERP system for your organization.

Part I: Get Executive Buy-In & Form an ERP Selection Committee

For most successful ERP Implementation Projects, getting off to a good start is key. But, before you even begin thinking about which ERP systems you want to research, you should have executive buy-in. Without it, you are destined for disappointment- you’ll spend a lot of your time and the time of others, while the project goes nowhere. I’ve seen many companies take this route, only to be told ‘NO’ by ownership when it was time to purchase.

Once you have the support of the Executive Team to move forward, you should form an ERP selection committee. In most cases you don’t want to go it alone.  While there are no specific rules you must follow when forming your team, I have outlined some guidelines which you may find useful: 

1.  Your selection committee should include people that represent each department that will be impacted by the ERP system.  These individuals should have a clear understanding of their departmental requirements, along with the ability to communicate those requirements to the rest of the team and to your prospective ERP software vendors.  If you can find individuals who have been through the ERP Selection and Implementation process before, their experience can be very valuable. 
      
      2.  You will need a leader- somebody has to be responsible to keep the project on track.  Remember, choosing an ERP package is a business decision, not an IT decision- so this person should have an intimate knowledge of your business.  He or she should also have the ability and experience to make decisions, as well as bring about change within your organization. 
        
      3.  Being on an ERP system selection team requires a significant commitment of time.  If a member can’t commit the time needed for the project, you should select someone else who can.                  
      
      4.  Executive Buy-in: Can’t stress it enough! Make sure that you have an ERP Selection committee member who has the authority to sign the contract and write the check.  If a final decision-maker doesn’t jump on board with the rest of the team, how are they going to have the knowledge to make the right decision when you ask for their signature?

Check out #4 in the whitepaper ‘How to Start Down the ERP Selection Path’ for more tips on creating an ERP Selection Team.

Check out Parts II through IV of the series: 
Part II: Define Your Business Issues & Set Your Objectives  
Part III: Start Your Vendor Search & Schedule Demos
 Part IV:Check Vendor References, Schedule Final Demos & Make the Decision

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