Buying a new ERP system is a big decision. Choose the right one and your productivity, customer service and efficiency can all soar to new heights. Choose the wrong one and each of these will suffer. With so much at stake, you must take the time to collect key information on the vendors you are considering. Only then can you fairly compare them against each other.
Every company’s needs are unique. But, no matter what industry you’re in or how big your business, there are certain questions everyone should ask when buying ERP software.
20 ERP discovery questions our experts recommend
ERP discovery questions to ask vendors:
- Does the vendor understand the regulations that affect my company? How will the ERP handle these regulations?
- Is the ERP regularly updated to respond to changes in regulations that affect my industry?
- How experienced is the vendor with working with businesses like yours (in size, industry and the types of products or services you offer)?
- What types of support does the vendor offer? Is local, on-site service available, or will they have to do everything remotely? (Important note: when considering vendors answers to this question, think about what internal support resources you have. Will you be relying on your vendor and/or implementation partner to support your ERP anytime there is an issue)?
- How long has the vendor been in business? Do they have a long-term plan for the product?
- Is the vendor’s business a financially healthy one?
- What kind of ROI claims does the vendor make? Do they have a track record of meeting those standards?
- For businesses operating in multiple countries, does the vendor have experience supporting companies with foreign operations? And, are they knowledgeable about working in the specific countries in which your company works?
- Can the vendors ERP system integrate with your other critical software systems? Are these integrations something they or their partners have already built, or will you need something developed just for your project?
- How often does the vendor update its ERP software? How are those updates delivered?
- If part of your team works remotely or you plan on allowing them to do so soon, does the ERP offer easy-to-use, reliable access on a range of devices?
- Does the ERP vendor offer the features I need to support my growth plans?
- How will adding the additional users and/or features you think you may need down the road affect your ERP price?
- What is the vendor’s customer satisfaction record like? (To answer this question, it’s helpful to look at online reviews and get references from the ERP vendor, preferably from companies like yours. Ask them, “do they enjoy working with the vendor?” “Are they happy with the service they receive?”
ERP discovery questions to ask yourself:
- Do I need to hire a third-party implementation partner to help me get my new ERP up and running? (For most small and medium-size businesses the answer to this question is almost always yes. The only time this may not be a necessity is if you have a large internal IT team who has deep experience working with ERP software).
- Can I afford the investment in a new ERP system, not only the initial implementation, but the future upgrades and additions I may need?
- Will my new ERP system need to integrate with any of my other existing software? What exactly do I need from these integrations?
- Do I have the internal resources to handle my ERP updates on my own, or will I need outside help? (Important note: if you’ll require help with your ERP upgrades, your budget should include the cost for this).
- How much of my staff works remotely or may do so in the next few years?
- Where do I see my business in the next few years? Do I plan on adding additional staff? Do I plan on adding any new product/service lines? What capabilities will I need from my ERP system to support these growth plans?
We hope this list of questions to ask when buying ERP software will help get you one step closer to making a confident choice.
Remember, a thorough ERP discovery process requires doing a bit of homework. But, when it’s finally implemented and you’re happy with the results, you’ll be glad you took your time with the research process.
If you haven’t yet made your short list of ERP vendors to whom you plan to ask these questions, look at this recent IDC report that compares the top 11 vendors across a variety of key areas.
Want more expert tips like this? Based on our nearly 30 years’ experience in the industry, we have created a bunch of useful content on how to conduct ERP research. Find it here.
Prefer hands-on help to find your ERP software? Contact us! We will be happy to discuss your needs.