Do you feel valued, secure and all swotted up about your prospective ERP solution? If you still feel like you need to get some answers from your supplier, you’re in luck. Kerridge CS has come up with seven essential questions that you need to get the answers to before you invest in Enterprise Resource Planning software.
1. How compatible are you?
Not many people check this. It's quite important. There’ll be problems or queries, and it won’t help to fall out. Does your prospective suppler ‘get it’ when you explain complex elements of your business – and do they offer useful advice and sensible ideas?
2. How many different types of software applications do they support?
The more different brands, versions and module combinations that they support, the less expertise they can provide on just one of them: yours. After a few months, you and your staff may know the software better than they do, because you use it every day. If you can get direct support from the software author – it will be better. Check their call logging system, you may even wish to visit their offices.
3. Can you talk to developers?
You shouldn't need to do this too often, but since your software is a series of instructions that some people (developers) have written, it's quite reasonable and occasionally very useful to have direct access to those people. Sadly, many developers hide themselves away from the customers. Or they’re in a different continent. Are staff loyal? The support of your system will suffer if staff move around a lot and there is no relationship with you and your system.We believe this is how we can help you to start your digital transformation process!
4. What do their references say?
Remember, you’re buying a business critical product. If their product references are lousy, it won’t be much comfort that the supplier has a strong balance sheet, a high share price, or lots of money, including yours.
5. What quality of support can they offer?
Of course, they should not be too small a company. But even from a huge software company, system support is often dependent upon the abilities and attitudes of only a handful of their people. Larger doesn’t mean safer; SMB size customers often get lost in the abyss. Your system purchase should make you feel like a significant customer.
6. Are they stable?
Not the same as size. Several large multi-national suppliers have simply withdrawn from the software market. However, their customers’ systems didn’t stop dead that same afternoon, quite the reverse: specialist service and support companies sprouted, populated by ex-employees.
If you’re really worried about stability, you can have software held in Escrow. This means that you get the source code if the supplier goes out of business. Not much use in practice however, the supplier will likely provide poor or limited support long before they go bust.
7. What's their support history like?
This doesn’t tell you as much as it might. We would advise ringing around several of their existing customers, not just visiting a couple – to glean a well-informed opinion of their support history.
Asking these questions of your prospective ERP supplier will allow your SMB to figure out if they can offer the right solution for your business.
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