ERP

Establish important criteria for the ERP evaluation process of tomorrow...today!

Matthäus Mayer09/05/2018
COSMO-CONSULT-Blog_evaluation

Upgrading an ERP system is an investment in the future security of a company. However, the trigger for an update process is often a direct risk that cannot be overcome with the existing company software. The software evaluation process therefore has to consider both – the minimization of existing risks and the future viability of a new ERP solution.

The expectations for a promising ERP evaluation process are therefore high and complex. The underlying decision criteria are different or even contrary from the perspective of the user. If implemented prudently, the ERP evaluation process be a guiding aspect for the entire IT strategy for the next years.

1. Functional requirements as unknown variables

In recent years, a clear emphasis has been placed on functional comparability during the ERP evaluation process. The actual process coverage should minimize direct risks, while the coverage of target process should ensure future viability.

In the course of the digital transformation and the associated abrupt change in existing business models, conventional process analyses and the resulting functional requirements in the evaluation process are too narrowly considered.

Conclusion: The ERP strategy of the vendor itself becomes the decision criterion. What sort of flexibility will an ERP provider offer in future for upholding the company’s own business model? What technologies will be used? Certified industry solutions as an addition to ERP standard providers offer comprehensive coverage with minimal adjustments required.

2. Flexibility of the system standard to preserve competitive ability

For many years, the existing ERP system has adjusted itself as well as possible to the requirements of the user. A strategy which has put the uniqueness of the actual processes in the foreground and has often led to high user acceptance and satisfaction. The results, however, included high dependence on individual system adjustments, very extensive or impossible upgrade strategies and limitations on further technological development.

What needs to be done here with an appropriate ERP evaluation process is not to check and compare the numerous individual functions required by the company but rather to evaluate end-to-end processes and their degree of coverage in the system standard. The uniqueness of the company’s processes and their representation in the system should not characterize a modification – they should be the exception to it.

Conclusion: The flexibility of an ERP provider, i.e. system settings/parameters without leaving the system standard, becomes the decision criterion.

3. User experience and readiness for change

An ERP system upgrade is based on the needs of the system user, their areas of activity and process operations. This is often where we find a contradiction in the evaluation process. The extensive individual adjustments and comfort functions can also be triggers for the ERP upgrade process. The disappointment of users in the evaluation of a sustainable ERP system standard, compared to the “old ERP world,” are already pre-programmed.

In addition to the requirements for a new ERP system for process coverage, these days, more than ever, the evaluation process has to factor in the clear advantages to system users and their areas of activity and make them comparable.

With advanced ERP providers, we see a paradigm shift away from the ERP system of record to a system of intelligence. System-generated recommendations for action and bases for decision-making allow users to perform their tasks faster, more easily, more flexibly and ultimately better.

Conclusion: User experience is much more than just attractive interfaces. The way that an advanced ERP provider supports modern work methods from the clerk to the CEO becomes a decision-making factor.

4. Choosing the implementation partner as a key to success

A structured evaluation process achieves comparability in the functionality of the product standard, the technologies used and the user experience, which advanced ERP providers are now able to offer their customers.

The success of the system introduction and implementation of the designated ERP strategy depends a great deal on choosing the right implementation partner.

So what really counts these days when we’re evaluating an implementation partner?

  • Excellent product and vendor know-how
  • An ERP introduction method that matches the evaluated software solution and individual framework conditions of the customer
  • Profound knowledge of the industry in order to understand the requirements, influencing factors of the industry and competitive advantages, in order to best integrate these factors into the future ERP solution in the customer’s language.

Conclusion: Product know-how, introduction method and industry expertise are therefore the biggest factors for success in the partner evaluation process and a prerequisite for the introduction and operation of a future-proof ERP solution.

Ultimately, the biggest factor for mutual success is people.

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About the Author: Matthäus Mayer

Matthäus Mayer has been working in ERP sales at COSMO CONSULT Vienna since 2011 (formerly FWI Group). He has many years of professional experience with Microsoft Dynamics and IT strategy.

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