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Agile System Selection

dreamstime_3456590_selection_150ERP System Selection

It is not a secret that about 80% of performance improvements come from process optimization and only 20% comes from ERP System functionality. But it is very important to select a system that will support the company’s current and future business process. What is the best way to ensure this?

System selection process is the base for the Agile Implementation Methodology. Not all systems are suitable for agile implementation. A system has to have rich base functionality and ability to make quick iterative releases. The best candidates are the so called “Second Tier ERP” systems. Large Systems like SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft are tailored to specific markets and are very expensive to modify. Smaller systems like MAS90, QuickBooks and Peachtree do not have enough base functionality to satisfy the requirements of growing companies.

Common System Selection Process

We have analyzed common system selection processes and have applied Lean and Agile principles to eliminate any potential waste and shorten selection process.

Standard selection process starts by preparing the Request for Proposal (RFP) and submitting it to multiple ERP vendors. Typical RFP will have from few hundred to few thousand questions most of which list standard features that MUST exist in any standard ERP system. How much time is wasted every day by checking off thousands of lines?

Next step will be selecting 6 to 12 systems for evaluation and invite vendors for a live demonstration. Each vendor is going into the demo with limited knowledge of the company operations and as a result cannot present all the features that may be interesting to a customer. Most of the vendors prefer to do live demonstrations with standard data that does not relate to the actual products of the company. This normally leads to confusion and lack of interest from potential customer.

The third, and sometimes omitted, step is to select 2 or 3 vendors and run “Paid” pilot projects. At this step vendor has to present standard system with live data and in some cases show the ability to modify the system based on customer requirements.

Agile System Selection

Our methodology divides system selection in three phases:

  • Solution Platform Selection
  • Selecting the Vertical Solution & Horizontal Add-ons
  • “Pilot” Run to prove the selected solution

Solution Platform Selection – unfortunately there is no ERP system that fits everyone’s needs. Each vendor tries to tailor their system towards specific markets or business processes. For example, in the Microsoft Dynamics family the SOL product line is tailored to Project Oriented business processes like construction or consulting industries, GP – for finance and accounting companies, AX – for multinational enterprises and NAV is for midsized Manufacturing, Distribution or Service companies. Therefore the first important step is to understand what solution platform will fit your industry best. This information is easily available through vendor websites and marketing material.

Selecting the Vertical Solution & Horizontal add-ons – this is a much more difficult task which requires extended research time. Each of the solution platforms can have numerous vertical solutions for each industry. For example, just Dynamics NAV has over 50 vertical solutions for the Food Distribution or Processing Industry. To pick a suitable solution you have to be very specific about your needs: a system tailored to meat distributors will not fit a beverage company even though it will be listed under the category of “Food & Beverage Software”. We have found that best results are achieved with process driven system evaluations. We believe that a system has to support the business process first and then additional details and improvements can be built around the process. We have developed a Process Driven Questionnaire that will help to select the right solution for your business. By contacting us and filling in the questionnaire we will research and select the best Vertical and Horizontal solutions for your business.  

“Pilot” Run to prove the selected solution – as a customer, a standard demo that will show how to “produce or distribute bicycles” is not relevant (unless you are selling bicycles). With the technology of today, every modern system allows for quick data conversion and this has to be used in the process of selecting a system. It is very important to see which system can provide best for your business and that is much easier if you are presented your own data during the demo. Hundred of questions will disappear and you will get a much clearer picture on system features and additional functionality required. At the same time, by learning your data the vendor will get a much better understanding of your business and will be better prepared for the demonstration.

Why Dynamics NAV?

Most “Second Tier ERP” systems have almost identical set of features and an integrated development environment that allows improving the system with additional functionality. Microsoft went even farther:  they have unified the user interface between all product lines and it will be practically impossible for end users to see the difference. In this environment the most important challenge is selecting a system that has an available vertical solution for your specific market that will cover over 90% of company business process “out of box” and easy to modify to cover the additional 10%.

We have selected Microsoft Dynamics NAV (previously Navision) as the base solution platform for the Agile Implementation Methodology. Dynamics NAV is the most flexible and easily modifiable system in the Microsoft family. Over 120000 companies are using the system around the world and this number is growing about 20% per year. Over 1000 vertical and horizontal solution have been released by partners that cover almost every industry. This makes Dynamics NAV the perfect choice for the Agile Implementation Methodology.

We have developed a unique Data Conversion Tool that allows us to setup Microsoft Dynamics NAV system with the customers data in less than a day. You can try the full Navision system with your data absolutely free and confirm that it suits your business process. Based on your needs we will install and setup in a test system add-on solutions for your evaluation. You just need to contact us and provide us with sample or real data in any format. We can load up to 1 year of historical data and prove that Dynamics NAV will save you money in a very short period of time. We have packaged conversions for many widely available systems which allows us to offer FREE data conversion to our customers.
Do not spend time looking at a Demo that will show you how to produce Bicycles or distribute Furniture. See how Navision will help YOU manage YOUR business.
Based on our Agile Methodology we are committed to provide value to our customers from the first sales demo and throughout the system implementation.

 

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