7 Questions to Evaluate ERP Vendors
When your retail business is booming, and sales are better than ever, it becomes increasingly clear that your internal operations and practices have to evolve in order to keep up the pace and the growth. To achieve this, you’ve decided that an ERP platform is the solution to the challenges and opportunities that your business has. Once you’ve decided that a solution such as Dynamics 365, is the right choice for your retail business, how do you go about implementing it?
To do so effectively and without a major internal IT overhaul, it requires assistance from an experienced and knowledgeable implementation partner. Of which there are many. As having the right vendor for your needs can either make or break your entire implementation process, getting the right info by asking the right questions from the start is key.
In this post, we’re looking at 7 questions that you must ask any ERP platform vendor that you are considering becoming your partner in implementation. It can serve as a starting point to help you narrow down your field of potential partners; instead of narrowing down your options of platforms themselves.
- How long have you been in the business of implementation? It’s clear that you don’t want a ‘beginner’ handling a process that could potentially cause major damage to your business if done incorrectly, so while this may feel like an obvious question to ask, it is one that shouldn’t be underestimated. This will also give you an idea of their familiarity with the solution and its correct and effective usage.
- Are you experienced in implementing solutions for retail businesses? Retailers have a unique set of problems not encountered by those in manufacturing, public sector, or agricultural industries. This means that having an implementation partner who understands the intricacies of the industry can not only help you to have a more successful process, but they can also be a valuable partner in helping you to improve based on their external perspective shaped by many implementations prior.
- How much ongoing support and training will you provide? The process of implementation begins with choosing the platform and doesn’t stop until it can be effectively and comfortably used by employees. To smooth and streamline this experience, having a knowledgeable partner that can support and train your employees during and after implementation can be huge in encouraging usage.
- What is your relationship with the ERP platform developer? Many implementation consultants and vendors are often partnered with the developer of the ERP platform. Be sure that they have an established and long-term relationship with the developer and have any necessary certifications to demonstrate that their training, experience, and practices are recognized as valid, correct, and effective.
- What does your ongoing maintenance and support look like? If you’ve chosen a cloud-based solution this is particularly important. No matter what you choose, unless you’ve got an unlimited supply of IT employees, you don’t want a vendor who implements your solution and then leaves you high and dry as soon as something isn’t quite right. Ensuring that routine updates are completed can go a long way in preserving the functionality of your system, so having a partner that will be there for the long term can make a huge difference.
- How long is the implementation process for companies with similar setups, goals, and preferences as mine? Of course, no two companies are exactly the same, but an experienced vendor should be able to look at your business and be able to give you an estimate of what to expect. This estimate will be key for charting a roadmap to ensure your internal acceptance of the project.
- What sets you apart from other ERP vendors? This is an interesting question to ask when it comes to determining the ‘chemistry’ between you and the vendors you are considering. Ultimately, even though everything else seems like it should technically work, if your potential partner just doesn’t seem like someone that you can comfortably spend time with and get along with throughout the implementation process, it may be better to consider other options.
By asking these 7 questions when you’re evaluating your different options in vendors, you can minimize the chances of working with a partner who, ultimately, isn’t the right choice for your business. It’s key to keep in mind that choosing the right vendor can help to minimize disruption and data loss, while also giving you valuable insights into how to better utilize your ERP solution in your retail business. Your vendor should be seen as a valuable partner in a symbiotic relationship, so be sure to select someone who you feel is working as part of your team and wants to see your success.
Want to talk more about ERP implementation and what it can mean for your retail business? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your complimentary consultation.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Systems Limited, or any other entity related to Systems Limited.