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Three Tips for Making the Most Out of ERP Vendor Demonstrations

We’ve all attended ERP vendor demonstrations that are more generic sales pitches than personalized and relevant presentations. Some ERP vendor sales reps are especially skilled at selling their software’s “best practices” as one-size-fits-all functionality. The key to finding the functionality best suited for your particular organization is requesting a scripted vendor demonstration based on its own organizational needs and differentiators.

At the very least, your organization should enter the vendor demo process with its specific requirements already defined and ask vendors on-the-spot how their systems can address those needs. If your organization appreciates ERP vendors that take the time to address ERP software functionality as it relates to specific business needs, The 17th Vendor Shootout for ERP provides exactly this opportunity.

Vendor Shootout for ERPOn June 12-14 in Chicago, Illinois, Panorama Consulting Solutions will moderate this unique event, which includes live, scripted ERP software demonstrations and ERP selection workshops for manufacturing and distribution companies. This event provides the perfect environment for organizations to conduct balanced and accurate comparisons between various ERP systems. The Vendor Shootout is a great opportunity to evaluate ERP vendors based on your organization’s functional requirements and competitive differentiators.

Following are three ways that your organization can improve its ERP software selection process prior to attending The Vendor Shootout next month:

1.    Identify which business processes are most important to your organization. Perform some initial work by fleshing out which processes (or functional areas) bring positive differentiation to your organization. While standardization in areas such as financials and warehouse management is usually advisable, processes that have effectively served your customers (or bottom line) should be protected from any form of “best practices.”

2.    Keep an open mind. You never know if Tier I or Tier II ERP software would be a better fit for your organization, and immediately ruling out cloud and SaaS ERP may be a bit hasty. Your organization should take advantage of the Vendor Shootout’s unique set-up to perform an “apples-to-apples” comparison of the software options demonstrated to determine total cost of ownership and short-term and long-term ROI.

3.    Educate yourself (and your organization) on ERP benchmarks. ERP vendors’ estimated timeframes and budget requirements are often based on optimistic assumptions. In order to arrive at more realistic expectations, your organization should download industry research (such as our 2013 ERP Report or 2012 Clash of the Titans) to compare expectations to actual ERP implementation outcomes.

If your organization makes an effort to know what it needs, keeps an open mind and determines realistic expectations, its experiences at the Vendor Shootout, or any other demos, will be much improved. Your organization will soon arrive at a short-list of ideal vendors offering ERP software that can enhance competitive advantage and offer business benefits for years to come.

To learn more about ERP software selection, download chapter two of An Expert’s Guide to ERP Success. Also, don’t forget to register for The Vendor Shootout for ERP.

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Written by Jennifer Aldrich

As a creative and analytical-minded digital content strategist, Jennifer is experienced in writing, data analysis, communication strategy and social media. As the Marketing Lead at Panorama, Jennifer supports all of the company’s marketing and content development initiatives and regularly writes blog posts about best practices in organizational change management and other ERP implementation components. Jennifer holds a BA in Public Relations from Colorado State University.

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One Comment

  1. I really enjoyed this topic. Working at SWK Technologies, I’ve seen the importance of product demonstration. Seeing the product in action and applying its attributes to relevant concerns in business operations is key when deciding to implement and/or upgrade your ERP solution.

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