Want to switch to a more integrated way of working? Nice! Then now is the time to consider which ERP system best suits your company, your processes and your budget. In this blog, consultant Nicky Luyten explains how to select the right ERP solution. He also shows what points of interest are important when selecting the right IT partner.

Over the past few years, my colleagues and I have helped all kinds of small and large companies take the step to an ERP system. We support diverse organisations working in numerous industries. Is it time to switch to an integrated way of working and are you looking for the right system? If so, I am happy to share some pro-tips you won’t read anywhere else.

Tip 1 – Define where you stand out

You sometimes hear that you first have to map out all your processes in detail to see which system fits them best. Those times are over, especially because people are moving more and more towards standardised processes. That is why it is important to map out what makes your company unique. Ask yourself what your strengths are, where you make the difference, what your unique strength is. After all, you are looking for a system that optimally supports precisely these things. The answers to these questions are your top priority when selecting a new ERP solution.

Tip 2 – Don’t get distracted by side issues

When you select a new system, you make a list of requirements that your solution must meet. One requirement is not like another; some requirements are much more important than others. Therefore, when selecting your new system, be careful not to attach too much importance to a requirement that is not that important. Before you know it, you will let your decision depend on a small functionality that you only need very briefly once a month. Stay on your toes!

Tip 3 – Find a partner with the right cultural fit

Implementing an ERP system is a business project. The consultants make the difference. Therefore, look for an IT party with whom you have a good cultural fit. A company with the same cultural fit thinks and works in a way that fits well with the culture in your organisation. Personally, my colleagues and I like to spend a day with an organisation first. That way, we get a good picture of the people, systems and processes. Moreover, the client and we immediately know whether we really fit together.

Tip 4 – Find a partner with the right industry knowledge

Look for an IT partner who understands your industry and has automated companies like yours before. You will benefit from the knowledge and experience such a partner has gained at similar organisations. Such a partner quickly sees what is good and what is not so good in your organisation and can really think along with your business. You will often notice how much knowledge your IT partner has during the initial discussions. Is the discussion substantive? Does the consultant give realistic examples? Does the partner dare to challenge you?

Extra tip: do you want to know whether the consultant really understands your business? Then feel free to ask a trick question and see if the consultant dares to contradict you.

Tip 5 – You select an ERP system together

Selecting a new ERP system is not a celebration of management alone. As CFO or COO, put together a team to work on the selection and let yourself be guided and advised by the process managers from within the organisation. Preferably, these are people who combine experience with a fresh mind and an open mind.

Tip 6 – Discuss the soft side with your supplier too

The success of your ERP implementation hinges on the enjoyment and ease with which people start using the new system. The most perfect ERP implementation is worth nothing if your teams don’t use the system or use it incorrectly. Don’t neglect the soft piece. How will you bring people into the change? How are you going to train people? These are issues for which both the client and the IT partner are responsible. Therefore, discuss this topic with your potential suppliers at an early stage.

Tip 7 – Keep demos short and to the point

My colleagues and I provided demos from 8am to 6pm. A demo lasting 10 hours is no fun for anyone. Not for the party that has to give the demo. And certainly not for the people who have to follow the demos. Be realistic. You can ask heaven and earth from your potential IT suppliers, but focus on what really makes the difference for you. Invite your suppliers to give short, clear demos. Then really make time for it. Invite the right people to watch, not just the CFO who never touches the system.