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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Kopnitsky

How To Start Your ERP Selection Journey

Updated: Apr 5

Your firm has made the decision that now is the time to invest in the proper tools to support and scale your business. Now what? There are countless vendors to choose from, how do we even know what questions to ask? Selecting which ERP is right for your organization requires diligent collaboration, patience, and a cohesive vision of the future. This is one of the largest internal initiatives your firm will undertake, you need to make sure any decision being made is driven by unbiased, cold, hard facts.



Define Your Vision:

Before you engage with vendors, before you see any demos, gather your priorities and vision. Skipping this step is like going to the grocery store hungry without an ingredients list. You are going forget key ingredients that you need and end up buying extra junk to overcompensate for your hunger. It is important to gather as much input as you can from all aspects of the business while remaining decisive to create a cohesive vision.


  1. Define "Business Process Workstreams" and Assign Owners Have your predefined "ERP Steering Committee" define each business process at your organization that will be effected by this change. Assign a leader who will act as the steward of each workstream. Make sure you are choosing an individual who is open to ideas, yet is strong enough to develop a clearly defined and unified design. This list typically includes, but it not limited to:

    1. Operations

    2. Sales Ops

    3. GL Accounting

    4. FP&A

    5. HR/Payroll

    6. IT or Applications Support

  2. Develop Your "ERP Selection Rubric" This rubric will act as your north star when assembling and defining your requirements for each business process. Keep everything nice and organized. When the requirements start flying and the demos start rolling, you'll want a clean template to work from.

  3. Collect Your Desired Functionality Empower your “workstream” owners to leverage their experience and their team to add desired functionality to the “ERP Selection Rubric” for their assigned business process.

  4. Review/Assemble Desired Functionality Have the ERP steering committee review the “ERP Selection Rubric” inputs for alignment, gaps, and duplication. Make a determination and weigh how critical each system functionality is to your collective vision.


Sample "ERP Selection Rubric" Format



System and Vendor Assessment:

Now that you know what you need, you can go shopping. Your vendors are going to to be incredibly grateful for your preparedness and you will be able to challenge and compare their functionality head-to-head.


  1. Vendor Engagement Distribute the “ERP Selection Rubric” to each vendor. They will likely want to hold a follow up call to dig deeper into your requests. This will allow them to adequately prepare for demos and documentation distribution.

  2. Vendor Assessment Collect and absorb ERP material and demos. Use the “ERP Selection Rubric” to diligently compare the functionality of each system. Ask questions about what the system is capable of, the reliability of the performance, and how well each business process works with others in and outside of the core ERP.

  3. Alignment Using the “ERP Selection Rubric”, understand how each ERP stack would fit into or replace the existing systems architecture. You may not need to buy everything on the menu. If you have an expense entry tool that your firm loves and the functionality of that tool is better than the "core" functionality of the presented ERP, don't feel like you need to switch. "Native integration" is the name of the game. It is important to look for a system that integrates well with other tools and is known for being integration friendly. It is only a matter of time before your AP Director knocks your socks off with an external AP Automation tool, only for you to realize that your closed off ERP doesn't play well with others.

Business Case and Alignment on Decision:

You know what you want, you know what each system can do, and you have an idea of how each package will complement or replace your existing systems architecture. Time to make a decision on which package is the best investment.



  1. Determine ROI Determine your projected return on investment for each ERP. One of your variables is easy, and that is cost. Old systems cost vs. new systems cost and time and effort to replace and execute. However, there are countless ways that each vendor will try and quantify value added through synergies and impact to productivity. Make sure you check these. Do you really have a plan in place and is it actually possible to increase productivity by 10%? How would the new tools drive the behaviors or change that the vendor is touting? Can you put a plan in place to enforce and track these drivers to achieve your desired synergies? Remember that a new system is an opportunity to streamline and automate your current processes. Try and think about how simplification and standardization will reduce waste in a new environment.

  2. Stakeholder Alignment & Decision Present fully documented findings, business case, and recommendation to any additional decision makers. Choose your ERP and get ready for the real work!



We're Here To Help

If you are thinking about a new ERP, our team at Equify Advisors has deep functional experience in leading these selection efforts. Equify Advisors is a NetSuite Alliance Partner and has technical experts within the technology. We have aligned ourselves with what we believe to be the strongest ERP ecosystem in the market today, but as shown above, your ERP needs are unique to how you operate and where you want to go. Set some time with us to learn more here: https://www.equifyadvisors.com/contacttheteam


Author:

Taylor Kopnitsky - Partner, Financial Transformation

NetSuite Certified SuiteFoundation

NetSuite Certified ERP Consultant







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