ERP Implementations and House Building – Phase 2: Shopping
In this multi-part blog series, Alan Lyczkowski discusses the many surprising parallels that can be drawn between an ERP implementation and the process of building a house. NOTE: If you’re just joining us for the series, you’ve only missed the Introduction and Phase 1: Analysis.
Which house or ERP fits my needs?
Once you have identified your requirements and identified what you need, you are on your way to choosing the best ERP system or house for you. This can be a favorite stage in the implementation process…the Shopping phase. You get to see what is available and how these options are going to fit your needs.
While my wife and I were exploring the Shopping stage, we met with several builders and walked through several model homes. Some were great, and some were not. We also reviewed several floor plans to determine which fit our needs. We had reviewed many, and based on our needs and budget, decided on the one we were most comfortable with. Then we began envisioning how we could make the house we chose into a home.
Just like walking through houses and reviewing home plans, demoing ERP systems can be fun. You get the opportunity to see what is available, which ones look great, and which ones do not. You also get the opportunity to meet with the potential implementation teams, just like meeting with the builders. As you demo different ERP packages, keep the following in mind:
- Which ERPs fit your needs
- Which interfaces you prefer
- Which analysis tools you prefer
- Which ERPs you can see yourself and your colleagues using for the next several years (can the system grow with your company?)
One of the reasons you need to do the Analysis phase first is to better prepare yourself for reviewing the ERP systems. You need to know what you want before you can determine which ERP system can help you get it.
As you are going through the demos, pay attention to the following:
- What are the similarities between the ERPs?
- What are the newest features being demonstrated?
- What do all of the salespeople seem to be talking about?
Just like the new features, in our home buying, we looked at the style trends (floor coverings, countertops, cabinets, moldings, etc.). These trends, like new features, can help you in identifying what you may need out of your ERP in the future—and you may not have identified this in your original analysis. Also, the attention to detail in the demonstration shows the vendor’s passion for the system and may reveal how they will help your organization in the future.
Use this time to have fun with the process. Ask the vendors tons of questions. Explore the different packages thoroughly to find out as much as you can.
After reviewing several options, you will be better prepared to make your decision. You should be able to narrow down to an ERP that fits your company’s needs, prepares you for the future, and will be easy for to use. You will be able to make an educated decision. But more than that…an educated decision that is right for your organization.
Watch for Alan’s next installment, Phase 3: Choosing a Partner.