Last week, in our blog These 5 Elements Will Ensure Implementation Success, we talked about how implementing a new system can be a daunting – but entirely worthwhile – endeavor. We also talked about some of the elements that you need to pay close attention to while going through the process.
This week, we’re going to talk about what happens before that – the selection of the system itself. Because choosing the right system will offer an amazing opportunity for improvement, it’s absolutely critical that you start the selection process with the right mindset.
You might still be using antiquated processes because of your current software solution. If that software is old enough, those processes are no longer best practices, and you’re at risk of falling behind the competition.
When starting the search for a new business management solution, it’s important to organize workflows and processes by department, then break down each process to determine why you perform it the way you do, and, finally, look for areas to make improvements.
Finding a software vendor that becomes a trusted advisor will provide you with the objective insight you need to complete this process and begin to make changes.
Here are four questions to ask before choosing business management software and a vendor to work as a consultant.
Does this software meet the specific needs of my business?
There is software that works, and there is software that works for your business. It's important to note this distinction because otherwise your system will be functional but won't necessarily align with the needs and culture of your organization. For example, a pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, biologics, or medical device business will have a plethora of government regulations to meet. In this instance, it's imperative to purchase a system that addresses these processes in the core of its product offering.
To find this system, you need to find a vendor who will take the time to learn about your business. Very often, sales representatives will immediately want to show you a demo without first taking the time to learn about your unique processes and how their product relates to your needs. No two businesses are identical, and each will vary in the way they operate; you need a vendor who understands this and doesn’t take a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to selling software.
Will you train our employees to use the software?
As with any new system or process, there will be a learning curve for users. There’s no avoiding this reality because no two employees learn and adapt to new technology in the same way. At Southeast Computer Solutions, we provide a subject matter expert (SME) to train your team on new processes and clarify how different parts of the ERP are connected, which is invaluable to their understanding of the system as a whole.
How will we migrate our data?
Data migration is just one aspect of the entire software implementation process. It’s important to consider, however, because, other than employee training, it’s the most expensive and time-consuming part of an ERP implementation. You’ll need to move the data from your existing system into the new system – after you clean it up and organize it. Other times, you’ll have data that can remain in the old databases for referencing purposes. It’s also possible that you’ll only move vital information like master tables, general ledger charts, open balances, invoices, credit memos, etc. That way, you can start over with fresh data in a fresh system.
Will you support us beyond “Go Live”?
What happens following “go live” is just as important as the implementation experience. Why? Because there is still learning to do. While you may have trained your employees before the system was live, training after the go live must continue, as questions that weren't covered in the initial training sessions will arise. Choose a vendor who understands that the learning/adjustment period continues and is prepared to stick around and continue to offer support.
When it comes time to get new business management software, Southeast Computer Solutions is the place to turn. Our experts can help from the beginning of the process through the end – from choosing the software, implementing, going live, and beyond. Contact us for more details.