The Top 5 Questions to Ask When Sourcing an ERP Solution Provider

A solution’s bells and whistles don’t mean a thing if your solution provider fails to deliver on time, on budget or at all. The statistics are alarming – according to CHAOS Summary 2009 by The Standish Group, 44% of implementation projects “were challenged which are late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions and 24% failed which are canceled prior to completion or delivered and never used.”A solution’s bells and whistles don’t mean a thing if your solution provider fails to deliver on time, on budget or at all. The statistics are alarming – according to CHAOS Summary 2009 by The Standish Group, 44% of implementation projects “were challenged which are late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions and 24% failed which are canceled prior to completion or delivered and never used.”

A solution’s bells and whistles don’t mean a thing if your solution provider fails to deliver on time, on budget or at all. The statistics are alarming – according to CHAOS Summary 2009 by The Standish Group, 44% of implementation projects “were challenged which are late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions and 24% failed which are canceled prior to completion or delivered and never used.”

How do you avoid becoming a statistic? Arm yourself with these Top 5 Questions Software ThinkTank would ask a prospective ERP provider(s):

1. How do you measure client satisfaction?

You are entering a long-term relationship with your provider, so it’s crucial that you work with someone who values client satisfaction. Letters of recommendation and a vision statement will help you see if/how a prospective provider values their customers. Ask for references from two existing clients to contact with a list of prepared questions.

2. How big is your organization?

Size matters – namely, the number of employees involved with deploying your solution. Divide the total number of the provider’s active clients by the number of employees directly involved in business application services. How long have they been with the firm? And how will your service be impacted if someone is away ill or on vacation?

3. How do you handle customizations?

Bought off the shelf, an ERP solution will meet many of your requirements. But chances are you will need some customization. Find out the cost and understand its functionality before you buy. Will the provider do the customization work or subcontract it out? If a subcontractor will be involved, ask about the provider’s relationship with the subcontractor and what happens if the subcontractor provides unsatisfactory work, or worse, goes out of business.

4. What level of support do you provide?

Do the hours of the provider mirror yours? Find out what time they are open for business, hardware support and software support – does it differ vastly from your hours of business? Do they provide support locally only or do they also provide it on a global level?

5. What is the breadth of your services?

Can the provider handle all your needs? If not, will there be a clear guideline, in writing, as to which provider is responsible for what? Without such a guideline, you run the risk of encountering finger-pointing when something goes wrong.

Remember to ask these questions when selecting the right solution provider to reduce your chances of implementation failure.  The right software provider will not only provide you with the right solution for your business, but also the right implementation to optimize your business to reach the fullest potential.

How do you avoid becoming a statistic? Arm yourself with these Top 5 Questions Software ThinkTank would ask a prospective ERP provider(s):

1. How do you measure client satisfaction?

You are entering a long-term relationship with your provider, so it’s crucial that you work with someone who values client satisfaction. Letters of recommendation and a vision statement will help you see if/how a prospective provider values their customers. Ask for references from two existing clients to contact with a list of prepared questions.

2. How big is your organization?

Size matters – namely, the number of employees involved with deploying your solution. Divide the total number of the provider’s active clients by the number of employees directly involved in business application services. How long have they been with the firm? And how will your service be impacted if someone is away ill or on vacation?

3. How do you handle customizations?

Bought off the shelf, an ERP solution will meet many of your requirements. But chances are you will need some customization. Find out the cost and understand its functionality before you buy. Will the provider do the customization work or subcontract it out? If a subcontractor will be involved, ask about the provider’s relationship with the subcontractor and what happens if the subcontractor provides unsatisfactory work, or worse, goes out of business.

4. What level of support do you provide?

Do the hours of the provider mirror yours? Find out what time they are open for business, hardware support and software support – does it differ vastly from your hours of business? Do they provide support locally only or do they also provide it on a global level?

5. What is the breadth of your services?

Can the provider handle all your needs? If not, will there be a clear guideline, in writing, as to which provider is responsible for what? Without such a guideline, you run the risk of encountering finger-pointing when something goes wrong.

Remember to ask these questions when selecting the right solution provider to reduce your chances of implementation failure.  The right software provider will not only provide you with the right solution for your business, but also the right implementation to optimize your business to reach the fullest potential.

How do you avoid becoming a statistic? Arm yourself with these Top 5 Questions Software ThinkTank would ask a prospective ERP provider(s):

1. How do you measure client satisfaction?

You are entering a long-term relationship with your provider, so it’s crucial that you work with someone who values client satisfaction. Letters of recommendation and a vision statement will help you see if/how a prospective provider values their customers. Ask for references from two existing clients to contact with a list of prepared questions.

2. How big is your organization?

Size matters – namely, the number of employees involved with deploying your solution. Divide the total number of the provider’s active clients by the number of employees directly involved in business application services. How long have they been with the firm? And how will your service be impacted if someone is away ill or on vacation?

3. How do you handle customizations?

Bought off the shelf, an ERP solution will meet many of your requirements. But chances are you will need some customization. Find out the cost and understand its functionality before you buy. Will the provider do the customization work or subcontract it out? If a subcontractor will be involved, ask about the provider’s relationship with the subcontractor and what happens if the subcontractor provides unsatisfactory work, or worse, goes out of business.

4. What level of support do you provide?

Do the hours of the provider mirror yours? Find out what time they are open for business, hardware support and software support – does it differ vastly from your hours of business? Do they provide support locally only or do they also provide it on a global level?

5. What is the breadth of your services?

Can the provider handle all your needs? If not, will there be a clear guideline, in writing, as to which provider is responsible for what? Without such a guideline, you run the risk of encountering finger-pointing when something goes wrong.

Remember to ask these questions when selecting the right solution provider to reduce your chances of implementation failure.  The right software provider will not only provide you with the right solution for your business, but also the right implementation to optimize your business to reach the fullest potential.

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