We regularly conduct objective research and leverage our vendor independence through ERP comparison to gather unbiased information about top enterprise software vendors, their implementation support services, and their products to determine the technology solution in each vertical industry that is the best fit for your company.
We leverage this research to supply you with credible and relevant insights to determine the solutions that will successfully enable your strategic business interests and long-term objectives in accordance with set ERP selection criteria.
Best Practices for Software Evaluation
The evaluation of any software vendor solution must be conducted with proven expertise and objectivity. Ultra’s extensive research and vendor independence provides a neutral frame of reference to help you with your ERP selection decision. We focus exclusively on the manufacturing and distribution industries to provide you with the deepest level of experience and understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
Our combined industry expertise, vendor research, and intimate knowledge of your business, which we accomplish through our extensive business process improvement services, will help you conduct an independent technology evaluation that is designed around your future state needs.
A Proven Enterprise Software Selection Method
Ultra’s proven enterprise software selection methodology is a multi-dimensional approach that starts with taking the necessary measures to fully understand your business. After performing several discovery activities to become well-versed in your business processes, we then go through an ERP requirements definition to identify certain criteria a new enterprise software should address, which is determined through thorough future state mapping.
Once we have determined this criteria, we will then focus on evaluating the products from the enterprise software vendors that best cater to your industry and align with satisfying your business requirements.
After you have analyzed your current state and defined your future state through our comprehensive ERP readiness assessment, your team will be poised with the confidence you’ll need to objectively evaluate software options and navigate the competitive vendor landscape, which will ultimately lead to the best enterprise software selection decision for your company.
Six Primary Enterprise Software Selection Factors
There are six main areas of focus in any enterprise software selection process:
- Features & Functionality
Does the software meet the future state industry and process needs of your business? Will your users find the software intuitive and easy-to-use? Does the software have advanced industry functionality to support your dynamic business needs?
- Vendor Synergy
Does the vendor understand your business? Will they stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends in the industry? Do they have the necessary experience in your industry? Do they listen to your questions and concerns? Do you matter to them? Do you like them both on a personal and professional level?
- Solution Agility & Viability
Is the vendor invested in this product solution? Will the software be a part of their service offering for the long-term? Is the product or company a target for acquisition or divestiture? Will the software capabilities be able to stay ahead of and cater to your future needs
- Technology Alignment
Does the platform fit within your technology roadmap? Is the company following industry standards for current and future integrations? Are the right competencies available for this platform? What is the company’s plan for long-term support and administration services? Will it be a hosted, cloud-based, or on-premise solution?
- Total Cost of Ownership
Are you able to forecast the investment for the long term? Do you feel you have a complete understanding of what happened during contract negotiations and the resulting agreement, including information about:
- Software licensing costs
- Enterprise software implementation services
- Annual maintenance
- Upgrade costs, including services/support, software integrations and services
Are you aware of the ongoing support and administration services the vendor is willing to provide?
- Implementation ConfidenceDoes the methodology align with and support your drive for success? Is the project plan comprehensive with adequate detail? How are risks and issues managed?What about organizational change management? Have you assessed the vendor customer references and relevance to your industry? Do you understand how they implement, when they implement, and if they have a track record of providing on-time and on-budget projects? What factors of success or failure have they experienced?
How to Evaluate a Software Based on Your Defined Future State
Traditional checklists and ERP RFP documents, also known as requests for proposals, add little value to a proper enterprise software evaluation. It is much more important to evaluate the overall flow of information and ease-of-use, and understand how the software performs necessary process activities – two key factors that are not addressed by traditional methods.
Ultra will guide your team in aligning your software evaluation criteria to the future state of your business processes and requirements. Evaluating the software and implementation services against your future state business process models will enable your team to make the best decision that supports your long-term needs.
Selecting the Software That Best Fits Your Organization
There are many websites and services that provide software feature comparisons for free or for a fee. However, feature comparison only tells a small part of the story. Vendors should demonstrate their capabilities against your future state, not according to their razzle-dazzle agenda of fancy bells and whistles.
Any enterprise software demonstration requires an acute focus on vendor dynamics for you to be able to cut through the smoke and mirrors and ensure their software truly does what the company says it does, and is the right fit for your company and your industry. Ultra will help you analyze usability, industry fit, legacy data migration, and scrutinize the potential for customizations or added support.
Points of Consideration for Every Contract Negotiation
Enterprise software contracts and prices are very complex and volatile. By taking advantage of our experience in leading hundreds of enterprise software selection projects, you will be able to support your team in navigating through the complex terms and conditions of ERP contract negotiations, and establishing the correct long-term budget for your necessary software and services.
Our goal in this stage of the enterprise software selection process is to ensure your organization buys the right software components and hires a successful ERP implementation team without overpaying. Our contract guidance will supplement your legal counsel to make sure you are protected in the arrangement with your software vendor and services provider.
Crafting the Vendor Agreement
After guiding you through demonstration evaluations, due-diligence efforts, and negotiated prices and contracts, we will properly evaluate all software vendors with solutions fit for your business, and help you select a preferred vendor based on your pre-determined areas of focus.
We will complete the solution selection by creating a multi-year business case model that supports the final approval and contractual agreements.
Drafting the Transformation Roadmap
Many corporate organizations do not have the ability to absorb the full scope of the future state. Ultra’s Business Process Transformation services will provide you with a full roadmap and timeline to effectively lead you through your future state in a systematic and doable way.
Milestone expectations and value targets are sequenced to ensure speed and accountability for success across your team, the software vendor(s), and service providers. The Transformation Roadmap is positioned to secure your enterprise software selection project meets and exceeds your expectations, and is enacted according to a plan that delivers results on-time and on-budget.