5 Questions to Ask ERP Software Vendors before You Buy
Finding the right ERP software for your business is a major decision that requires a tremendous amount of time and research. There are hundreds of ERP software vendors to choose from, all claiming to offer the “best” and “most powerful” solutions on the market. So, how do you determine which of these ERP software vendors can help you reach your goals?
Sorting Out ERP Software Vendors
Below are some targeted, pointed questions to ask during the vendor evaluation process. These will help you gather the information you need to identify the most stable ERP software vendors with the solutions that will best meet your needs. So, you can make a smart decision that will put your ERP initiative on the path to success.
1. Please provide a detailed company history.
Perform an in-depth background check of each of the ERP software vendors you are considering, including their past and current financial status, their mission statement, and their reputation within the industry. This will help you better predict what kind of partner each one will be throughout the course of your project. The strong, well-run ERP software vendors will be happy to share any and all relevant data, so be wary of those that provide vague or incomplete information.
2. What features does your solution suite offer?
Get a complete breakdown of each product’s capabilities, so you can compare it closely to the functionality on your requirements list. Any ERP software vendors that cannot meet all your needs should be immediately cut from your short list. You may also want to ask about future product plans, so you can understand how each of the ERP software vendors will enhance their offerings going forward.
3. Do you have references?
Nobody can provide more insight into an ERP vendor and its solutions than its customers. Ask to speak to both former and current clients, preferably those that operate within the same industry, or those that are using ERP software to achieve similar goals or overcome similar problems. Request several contacts at each reference site, including IT staff, departmental management, and end users in various back-office roles. This will allow you to get several different real-world perspectives about their experience deploying, customizing, and working with the solution.
4. Show me how it works.
ERP software is about more than just a list of features. Interface simplicity and ease-of-use are just as important. And, the only way to assess these qualities is to ask the ERP software vendors to conduct a thorough demonstration. Make sure each demo focuses on those features and functions that are most critical to your business needs. And, be wary of pre-recorded or canned demos, which may put the ERP vendor in the best light, but not cover the areas of the product you care most about.
5. Can I test drive it?
ERP software vendors know how to make themselves look good during a demonstration.
This doesn’t necessarily provide the most accurate picture of how the solution will work once it has been implemented. By trying the software for 60 or 90 days, you can get the most realistic experience possible. This will show you how the solution will operate once it’s in production, and what it will be like to work closely with each of the ERP software vendors on a day-to-day basis.