Because we represent a particular ERP product, DRI will not run selection projects. We know that some ERP vendors do, but we don’t believe that this is ever in the best interest of the client.
However, because of the large number of projects that we work on each year, we are very familiar with the independent ERP selection consultants throughout the country. These are firms and individuals who specialize in assisting companies with finding the right ERP solution. They know the products in the market place and can get you to your “short list” quickly. DRI has no direct relationship with these firms, and receives no compensation from any of them, but we are happy to provide you with names of reputable firms in your area.
What to look for in an ERP Selection Consultant
- Customized projects
Avoid consultants who want to give you a boilerplate RFP or requirements document, and then ask you edit it. A good consultant will talk to all of the stakeholders within the company and develop a unique requirements document for you.
- Product knowledge
Look for a consultant whose clients have selected multiple ERP systems. A consultant who has experience with only one system either has limited knowledge of the marketplace, or a vested interested in seeing one system selected over another. Ask them for the names of some of the software systems they think might fit a company like yours, based on industry and size.
- Industry experience
While you don’t necessarily need a consultant with experience in your specific industry, it doesn’t hurt. More important, however, is that they have experience with companies your size. Always ask for names of companies they have worked with – and be sure to talk with companies who have worked with the consultant recently, and with companies who have completed implementations of selected systems.
A Vendor’s Point of View
- More is not always better
Extremely large spreadsheets full of specific requirements are not always the best way to go. When developing your list of requirements, focus on items that are extremely important to your company and requirements that may be unique to only some systems. Avoid requirements such as “Item number must be at least 15 characters,” and “Ability to invoice customers for goods shipped.”
- Do the work up-front
The more work you have done defining requirements, establishing a project team, and obtaining executive sponsorship before you talk to vendors, the better. Most of the delays that we see during a selection process are due to new requirements being discovered, or new people being brought into the decision-making process.
- Keep us (and you) honest
Have initial discussions with all vendors regarding budget and project scope. Let vendors know that you will need to talk to references who have implemented the version of the software they will be demonstrating. Be honest with us about your budget and your team’s anticipated availability during the selection project and the implementation. We don’t want to waste your time or ours – and we are sure that you don’t either!