An email from a Nigerian prince promising millions of dollars. A lose-weight-fast wonder pill. A "1,000 Free Hours" CD-ROM from AOL. The subject of the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Frankie Valli... It's not uncommon to encounter things that are just too good to be true, and the ERP world is no exception.
Here at Single Source, more and more often we’re seeing vendors in the space offering implementations that are not only low-cost but also fast-turnaround. When every dollar counts in your company's budget, it's understandable to give these offers a second glance. But with our 30+ years of helping thousands of clients with their digital transformation, we're here to sound the alarm bells!
Let's take a moment to dive into semantics! "Installation" means setting up software. Getting an ERP solution up and running is certainly more complicated than installing AOL from one of those gaudy old discs, but it's still just the static process of making the solution technically ready to use. "Implementation," on the other hand, refers to an entire start-to-finish process, from initial planning to data mapping, from installation to testing to go-live, and everything in between.
Often, when you see a quick, low-cost implementation deal, what they are likely referring to is in fact installation. So right off the bat, that offer has a lot less value, trading quality for speed. Also, in our experience, implementation takes not 100 days but six to nine months. One of the reasons for that reality is that your team simply can't give 100% of their attention to the new solution: they have to juggle their business-as-usual, day-to-day roles. Complete digital transformation takes time and attention. While there are certainly ways to help an implementation go more quickly and smoothly, there really aren't any parts of the process than can be skipped over, whatever a vendor might tell you (or not tell you).
Before signing off on an offer that hints at being too good to be true, take the time to ask the vendor detailed questions, including really digging into everything their quote includes. While $50,000 is definitely less eye-popping than $150,000 on paper, the lower price almost certainly reflects fewer services, and there are many services far beyond installation that are crucial in a successful implementation.
Insist on getting a statement of work. This scope should include a clear indication of both time and materials required for the project. Trustworthy vendors will be very upfront and concrete with what you're getting.
This is our most important tip: An implementation is rarely a small endeavor, and real-deal vendors should have the methodology down to a science, breaking down the plan with high detail. It's easy to skim over this part, instead focusing on the features the software has to offer. But the implementation methodology is a key component and should never, ever, ever be an afterthought.
Since each company is unique, ERP implementations often require additional programs, such as custom reports and dashboards. Ask your vendor if their price includes any custom programming. If not, find out what custom programming does cost before signing anything. It may add up to much more than a nickel and dime.
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There are ERP vendors, and there are ERP partners. Perhaps we're getting into semantics again, but here at Single Source, we take pride in partnering with your company during every step of implementation. Our 16-phase Milestone Methodology, starting with System Wide Planning and ending with a Post-Implementation Review, ensures as seamless a transition as possible. And remember when we mentioned how there are ways to make the implementation process quicker and smoother? A major one is a proper enablement, and our unique Service School offers over 130 training videos as well as workshops so your team can be ERP all-stars. To explore the real-deal options, contact us today.