The decision for installing an organization wide business management is a big undertaking. This involves time, effort and financial resources to take the right decision. In our previous post we discussed the right way to go about ERP implementation (read here). In this post we are going to share with you 8 questions that you must have answers to in order to get the complete picture about the product .
- How does the vendor handle post sales support?
Your system is as good as the support that it comes with. Ask your vendor in detail about their post sale support plan. Many vendors will give you different bands of SLA to choose from, you must choose the one that suits you the best. Remember, proper support directly translates to minimal downtime in the operation of your company. Choose wisely. Also, if you think you wont need support, you are wrong.
- How snug is the Vertical Fit?
Here is the golden rule, if there exists a product that addresses your vertical directly, review it in detail before you disqualify and move to another alternative. Also please make sure that your reasoning to do so is fair and valid. I say this because as a rule of thumb extensive integrations/customization is a thing that must be avoided if possible. Integrations and customization add substantial time for the deployment as they mandate thorough testing and training.
- How is training undertaken?
In order to reap complete benefits of the solution and to get the most bang out of your buck, you staff must be thoroughly trained in the software’s usage. I mean what’s even the point of spending a small fortune on the solution without someone to juice it to the max. Work along with your vendor in coming up with an extensive training programme. In our experience, selecting departmental power users who can a) do internal training and b) conduct level one troubleshooting.
- How does the system handle third party integrations?
Let’s face it, with all the challenges I mentioned in the point above, Integrations are a reality and cases most often than not a necessity. In such a scenario, it’s important to know how much does the system being considered lends itself to integration. This question becomes even more critical when the integration is a critical part of the implementation. Depending on the ability for integration, this question has the potential to be a deal breaker
- What modes of deployment available?
On promise, or on demand. This is a question that you must have a clear defined answer for. We have covered the pros and cons earlier in this series, you can read it here. The solution that you are considering needs to meet your deployment criteria, so ask and find out.
- Backward compatibility?
When you leave your old system, the natural question then is what happens to your data? Well two things, a) If the new system allows, you will be able to import some/all of the data into your new system and carry on, or b) You will have to identify a hard cutoff date to transition from the old system to the new with a fresh beginning. I am sure you can imagine that the answer to this question is critical for planning the transition.
Planned or unplanned, your business will grow, and when it does, your system should be able to scale with it. Scalability is a USP in its own right which can justify vetoing off or on a particular brand of software. If a system is not scalable effectively, then it’s not worth considering.
Last but not the least, you must know how frequently the system will be updated and patched. Will it be free or paid? Will this covered in the support SLA or updates will be a pay as you go arrange.
These are some of the questions that you must get clarity on before you on board a software product and a vendor. The answers to these questions help you prepare and budget with more accuracy.
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