Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Selecting a new Accounting/ERP system - Part 1

How to select a new ERP system - Part 1 - "Creating a selection committee and documenting your needs"

First and most importantly is to create a steering/selection committee that is represented by individuals throughout the organization. This committee will be the resource to move the company through a successful selection by representing their functional area, defining the requirements, evaluating software against those requirements and be an advocate for the software chosen. Much higher success (based on completion of selection and implementation within a timeline) is achieved with a committee verses only production, financial, or IT involvement.

Generally, these are the steps you should take when looking at replacing your existing systems:

-Document your needs — Most companies will start searching for software when they really don’t know what they’re looking for. Thoroughly documenting your current processes and procedures will allow you to identify what really keeps your business running, identify opportunities for improvement and most importantly, keep you from forgetting critical needs. Gather this information by functional area (invoicing, job costing, payroll for example).

- Identify your key requirements — The ability to print checks is not a key requirement, as all software can, but things such as supplier price-list imports, serialized service history, machine or technician scheduling, customer asset listing, seasonalized inventory levels, customer discounts based on sales volume and return material authorization are key requirements. By functional area, document the key items you need your system to perform. Don’t forget reporting, as most businesses have very specific information they need in management reports to make daily business decisions.

In Part 2, we discuss researching solutions and creating the request for information.

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