How do you evaluate ERP Demos?

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When you are looking for an enterprise resource planning solution an inevitable step of the screening process for the right solution is the product demo.

ERPs are experiential and visuals are vital in the sales processes. Most executives want to go straight into a demo however this is a well-rehearsed sales demo and it’s designed to catch you. It is easy to get carried away with everything you might see in dashboards and reports created on the fly. It is also equally easy, as a time pressed manager or director, to blow your requirements out of proportion including your budget on things you may not actually need to run and grow your business.

It is therefore crucial to assess ERP demos for the benefits they provide. There are various types of demos that can be shown at various stages and it is important to have an idea which demo will work for you.

As mentioned, in most cases a sales demo will be shown early on and is usually a well-rehearsed display showing the latest and greatest bells and whistles of the ERP system. What you need to keep in mind with such sales demos is that they may not be the practical side of what you are seeking and it is likely those fancy features will cost you extra! “This is part of the system” VS “This is included with the system” mean two very different things.

A technical/detailed demo is usually delivered in a shortlist stage targeted for key users and department heads and goes in-depth to actual workings of the system. These types of demos take a lot more time compared to sales demos and generally if users are not familiar with a system or ERP systems in general they will typically switch off in less than half way or even leave. Mission critical departments tend to value these demos given they have to answer for some form of selection suggestion in final stages.

The most practical demos tend to be ones that tailor to your requirements and can at least show one or two of your processes running on the system before you have to fork out a single cent for the system itself. This process takes a bit of time to prepare, as vendors have to assess your requirements and show you a doable process; it is better to not be in a hurry and take this time! Seeing your own processes on a system builds your confidence in what you are investing in and also in the team you are engaging to do the job in that they are able to demonstrate they understand what you want and show that the product can meet your requirement to some extent.

Keep in mind that in most cases companies leverage only up to 30-40% of what a fully integrated ERP system can deliver. It takes time to sink into the system and work with it then you can grow into additional features over time. The vendor and the system should allow for this growth to take place naturally rather than pushing you into it by changing how you run your business. Also keep in mind that every feature and module you want has to be implemented and that drives up consulting/training day charges and your timelines. It is a better process to meet and assess the people who are selling and how they market their system and support it; after all it’s a long-term partnership you are entering into.

 

Do you require some help in selecting your ERP system? Call us today at 011 450 6904 to have a chat about your needs and how we can help you select the right solution. You can also email us at info@erpservices.lk