For those who are willing and able to invest the time and effort, there are an astounding number of ERP selection guides. Additionally, there are online and consulting services that specialize in helping you make an informed decision. These options are intended to provide users with a "bullet- proof" Request For Proposal (RFP) - one that will "guarantee" an objective outcome. However, many companies ultimately find these methods to be either expensive or unsatisfactory - or both - and to be designed more to validate a decision or to support company political necessity.
Despite the use of ERP selection guides and services, anecdotal evidence often plays a significant part in ERP software selections. It's human nature. Colleagues in your professional associations, Board members, golf partners: anyone who's been at a company that's implemented an ERP system, or knows of a company that's implemented an ERP system is happy to pass along what they know, or what they have heard. Most of us take anecdotal evidence with a grain of salt, of course, but how do companies make a good decision about which ERP solution to chose?
First, look for solutions - and solution providers - with deep experience in your industry. With a really close fit, you won't need to invest a day or more educating each candidate about your needs - they'll already know, and will have more than a few customers who look pretty much like you.
Second, I'd recommend taking a look at the vendor rankings in The Accounting Library (www.accountinglibrary.com). This provides an objective measure of the depth, breadth and maturity of core financials, based on a third party review. And, if a well-known vendor is not included in the rankings, you should probably explore why they've chosen not to participate.
Third, follow the time-tested advice in "Keep It Simple When Buying Enterprise Apps," attached below. The basic idea is to pick 2-3 specific issues that your company needs to address, and ask your short-listed vendors to show you how they address those issues. You'd be surprised at how often the key reasons that started your search for a better way can get lost in the most seemingly thorough RFP.
Finally, look for a team that you're comfortable working with. You'll be spending some time together - might as well enjoy it as much as possible!
keep_it_simple.pdf (82.64 kb)