If followed closely, the AGIS document can greatly help in the ERP selection process. Each step should be completed prior to starting the next step since it provides the base for the next step. Of key importance is Step 1 of this four step process – the creation of an ERP narrative. This is far superior to a checklist due to the narrative’s ability to convey the underlying process and provide context to the necessary features. Step 2 is the estimating phase, which must include the cost of human errors caused by an inadequate ERP system, should one already be in place. Step 3 involves researching the ERP market. Only in Step 4 does a company actually begin to evaluate specific ERP products and vendors, but it’s the preceding steps that provide the foundation for a productive and fruitful search.
Michael Bethuy, president of AGIS explains: “Imagine trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It won’t fit, and trying to hammer it in will at best severely damage both the peg and the hole. It’s the same for many ERP selection searches. There are companies that merely make checklists, start speaking with sales representatives almost immediately, ignore business processes, or just fail in any number of areas. Unfortunately, this happens to too many companies during the ERP selection process and sometimes produces disastrous results.”
The AGIS Four Step ERP selection process document requires a significant amount of time and hard work. Choosing an ERP solution is not a matter of selecting a few features from a list and calling it a day; nor should it be – the stakes are just too high. Following the template and its use of narratives will greatly help facilitate the successful selection of an ERP system that can both support a company and help it grow.
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Michael Bethuy is the President of Avant Garde Information Solutions, LLC (AGIS). Founded in 2002, the AGIS Business Suite offers a highly configurable and proprietary integrated accounting, contact relationship management (CRM), and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for small-to-medium size companies. Michael specializes in helping companies attain competitive advantage and increased efficiency by ensuring that their specific customized business management software requirements and processes are met.