Get to know the vendor and your people
The industry analogy is: we are about to get married, shouldn’t we get to know each other better first? Choose the right vendor for the right reasons. Don’t buy based on demonstrations that stress the “bells and whistles”. Use the information you gathered from your analysis to measure the vendor’s capability to satisfy your business process needs. Demonstrations are a great opportunity to test the vendor by watching how they handle processes and issues that are standard in your industry. Let me caution you here, watch for the vendors who exhibit any of the following:
– Poor or non-existent analysis prior to issuing a quote.
– Insufficient knowledge and resources in required core competencies
– Cannot demonstrate industry specific knowledge
– Doesn’t demonstrate their product effectively. (This can mean he doesn’t know how to use it.)
Don’t hesitate to ask to speak with or visit existing customers in the same or similar industries and go prepared with questions not only on specific features but also on how they handled customization and special projects. This will give you a better understanding of the vendor’s capabilities and expertise which is crucial in determining the division of responsibilities during the implementation process.
Knowing the vendor is critical but not knowing the limitations and capabilities of your people is fatal. Many an ERP project has been derailed because the purchaser has failed to grasp the magnitude of the project and failed to realize the limitations of internal resources. This doesn’t mean that your personnel can’t do a large portion of the implementation themselves because they often can. It means that you must chart a proper plan for implementation, dividing up tasks based on knowledge and expertise. What can your people do efficiently and effectively and what will you need to rely on the vendor to do?