Shopping for an ERP Solution? Ask the Right Questions

At Microsoft, we've worked with a lot of customers to reduce their stress around ERP. Partners can play a critical role in ensuring their customers understand the key factors and best practices that ERP implementations successful.

·         The #1 factor—Trust: Customers need to trust that the people on the team implementing the solution understand the business and have the ability to execute. It’s not about basing decisions on the reputation of the company or trust in the sales person. It’s about meeting the project manager and the individuals that will be doing the work. Partners need to take the time to earn the customer’s trust for a successful implementation.

·         Data migration strategy: Customers always want their data migrated. It’s the partner’s job to help them determine at what level. Migrating data can introduce risk and higher costs. Does your customer really need 10 years of data, or is it better to migrate master records, bring in beginning balances, and leave historical data in the legacy system?

·         Customization: Excessive customization is another cause of failed ERP implementations. It’s easy for customers to fall into the “Pimp My Ride” frame of mind, and you can help customers differentiate they customizations they want from what they need. Remind customers that maintenance and cost increase (and ROI decreases) with the level of customization. If a high level of customization is required, customize in smaller chunks through a phased approach.

·         Complexity:  Most companies restructure their charts of accounts when they change ERP systems. Work with customers to make sure they’re not making them too complex. Complex charts can add steps to the process, take more time, or require more people them make it work. Consult with customers on chart of accounts best practices and keep key performance metrics top of mind.

·         Dig past the pretty charts: Today’s ERP systems have a lot to offer and demos are full of shiny objects. Help each customer cut to the chase and understand which features are most important to make the needed business change. By helping customers consider how deployment options and specific features can tangibly impact their specific business processes you guide them to the right decision for a successful implementation.

For more information on how to assess the best deployment model for your business, view the on-demand webcast, “Don’t just react to change, shape and drive it with a cloud or on premises solution from Microsoft Dynamics ERP.”

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