How to select a new IT system?
To select and implement a new system can often be an intimidating task as it requires significant financial and time investment. The ERP and CRM market provides a large variety of solutions and choosing the best fit solution requires a very structured approach. It is imperative that your chosen solution will yield the required Return on Investment (ROI) and address your key business requirements.
Define what you need
It is critical for Change Management (Buy-in) to involve key users representative of all your business units to define your key functional and other requirements. These requirements should take into account your future needs in order to support your business and IT strategy. Never select a solution based on your existing business processes. I recommend that you rather define your needs based on future improved business processes that will embrace automation and increase efficiency. Most of the available ERP and CRM solutions will be able to handle 80% of your requirements. Your task will be to identify those unique requirements that can be used as evaluation criteria in your selection process to ensure that you select the best-fit solution.
Select a short-list of suppliers
Let your Selection Committee evaluate the proposals received to determine a short-list. It is recommended to decide on a weighting upfront. Consider the full cost of ownership but do not let costs weigh too much initially. I always recommend a 40:40:20 weighting ratio for Functionality, Supplier profile and experience and Cost.
Choose the best solution
In order to choose the best-fit solution, it is recommended to provide the short-listed suppliers with the opportunity to demonstrate that their proposed solution will be able to support your key requirements. Prepare scripted demonstrations based on your current business challenges and provide said suppliers with the necessary data that will assist them in demonstrating how their solution will support your business by addressing these challenges. Let your Selection Committee evaluate these demonstrations and vote on the preferred solution.
Obtain approval from the short-listed suppliers to contact their referral clients. Validate the information provided by the suppliers with their clients and get feedback on their overall performance and success of the relevant implementation.
Once you have selected your preferred solution, make sure that you are aware of any implementation and contract risks and address them accordingly. Read the fine print!
Select a solution that will support your business strategy and is aligned with your IT strategy.