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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Inbox-Things to Ask Before You Write That Big Check to a Vendor

Every week articles from various analysts and other ERP research companies arrive in my email inbox. Some of them are worth reading and some of them are clever marketing gimmicks to get your contact information. These blogs posts will direct you to the ones worth reading.

I received "ERP To-Do Checklist: Thing to Ask Before you Write That Big Check to a Vendor" from Inside-ERP. What a great headline! I certainly want to know the answer to that question. The graphic on this email shows a 4 page report with detailed paragraphs of text. That's not what is in the report.

This 1 1/2 page document lists 12 questions with very short, if any, descriptions. 4 questions relate to the organization support and structure of your team, 4 questions relate to your requirements, 3 to basic implementation practices and 1 to Technology.

While the questions are good questions you would never wait until you're about to sign a contract and write a check to the software vendor.

Every selection project has certain phases that you must complete. In our methodology those are:
1. Establish the project charter (executive sponsorship and project ownership)
2. Plan the project
3. Determine your requirements
4. Build your long list of software vendors
5. Evaluate vendors to arrive at a shortlist
6. Conduct in-depth due diligence on the shortlist candidates
7. Finalist Evaluation
8. Implementation Planning
9. Contract Negotiation

Establishing executive support and identifying the participants in the project take place early in the project in steps 1 and 2. Requirements identifications take place in step 3. Technology questions need to be resolved in step 6 as part of your software evaluation. And implementation planning questions, which modules to use at go-live, training will be addressed in steps 8 and 9.

Only then would you be ready to sign a contract. If you need to answer these type of questions when you're thinking about writing a check you have a badly flawed selection process.
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