How to Select Your Perfect ERP Vendor

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: August 22, 2011

An Enterprise Resource Planning system, also known as an ERP, can help businesses in standardizing procedures and centralizing information. This system is sold in modules to many industries, such as manufacturing, school districts and hospitals. The modules are interconnected and can be for Human Resources, Finance and Inventory/Sales. You enter data in one module, and that can be used in other areas, minimizing duplication of time and effort, streamlining processes. For example, an employee's name can be entered in the Human Resource module, and that can be used to approve Purchase Orders. Selecting a proper vendor for your ERP needs can be tricky. Below are some ideas to help you choose the right company:

  • Make a list of your must-have features to help you focus on your needs, rather than on the whistles-and-bells vendors may show you, but unrelated to your real requirements.
  • Solicit for referrals from other businesses that are happy with their ERP systems
  • Contact at least 3 vendors
  • Be sure the vendor can meet your budget limitations
  • Ask for demos CDs or online, so that you can experience the system working on a sample firm.
  • Verify that the vendor can meet your timeline to get the system up and going
  • Ask the prospective vendor how many ERP implementations it has done in the past with situations similar to yours – the more, the better.
  • Request references and check those up over the phone or through emails.
  • Run a Better Business Bureau report on the ERP vendor. You can do that for free at www.bbb.org.
  • Search for vendor online to check its Internet reputation in the marketplace.
  • Meet the ERP implementation members or at least the project manager to make sure it’s a good fit culture-wise.
  • Avoid dealing with multiple vendors that can blame each other when something goes wrong.
  • Select vendors that offer pre-configured and pre-tested systems that are easier to implement.
  • Inquire about training options, not only for existing employees, but for future hires as well.

Selecting an ERP vendor is important for you get the most out of your system. Be sure that the firm is reliable, stable and will be around for awhile, so that if you have problems, they can come in and assist you. You may decide to implement a couple of modules first and then get the other ones done later. This type of implementation limits your risk – if the vendor messes up with the first modules, you may choose to go to another one for the other modules.

Featured Research
  • 8 Ways the Cloud is Changing ERP for the Better

    What if there was a tool available that allowed for you to save up to a quarter of your operational costs? Studies have shown that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions enable businesses to access accurate, real-time information about daily operations which allow for the reduction of operational costs of up to 23% and administrative costs of up to 22%. more

  • 7 key questions to ask any ERP provider

    Having a fast-growing business is good. Having to overhaul your technology every time you need to scale is not. Upgrading to a more complete Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can help, but how do you ensure the solution you choose is exactly what you need? To help you with your search, we’ve pulled together 7 key questions every fast-growing business should ask before choosing a cloud-based ERP solution, including: more

  • How Finance Leadership Pays Off

    Oxford Economics recently surveyed 1,500 finance executives and it’s clear that small and midsize companies are growing significantly faster than larger companies. But, there are also big opportunities for finance to increase efficiency, boost financial performance, and work more strategically. Why is that? more

  • Professional Services Audience – Improve Profitability Infographic

    As a Professional Services Organization (PSO), you know the importance of customer satisfaction. In fact, 47% of PSO leaders say managing changing customer expectations is their top challenge. That’s why many firms are engaging smarter project management technology, even before deals are signed, to ensure project profitability. How are these leaders utilizing technology? Find out now. more

  • Top 9 ERP Myths Debunked

    ERP systems can help improve and streamline your business ways and can help with productivity, efficiency, reporting, and much much more. However, as ERP solutions have grown in popularity, myths have begun to circulate that are providing an inaccurate view of ERP solutions and just how they can benefit your business. more