5 Questions to Ask About ERP

May 14, 2020 by Meredith Trimble

5 Questions to Ask About ERP

Choosing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) software provider is a serious decision with long-term implications. Much is at stake, from the initial financial commitment to the day-to-day reliability and functionality of one of government’s most important back-end systems.

The Government Finance Officers Association noted in this piece that governments expect to partner with ERP vendors for more than 10 years on average. This leaves little room for error in selecting the right partner. Below are five questions every government should ask when choosing its next ERP provider.

1. Will the provider be in it for the long haul?

Stability is key. A stable company has more consistent access to resources to build upon its current offerings, support its clients, and innovate. Warning signs of vendor instability include a recent history of being sold or radically restructured. Employee churn is also a concern. Investigate turnover rates and consider companies with decades of experience in the public sector.

2. Does the provider know the public sector, and does it offer civic engagement tools?

The optimal ERP partner knows that a city, town, or county can’t simply adopt software designed for the private sector. Really knowing the market means that a company’s employees understand the public sector’s unique needs including financial transparency and state and federal reporting requirements. Equally important is an ERP partner that recognizes and provides for robust citizen engagement and self-service.

3. How does the provider approach implementation?

Significant financial and human resources are involved in deploying a new system. What’s more, implementation teams spend a considerable amount of time with new clients. A good match is important. Make sure a company’s implementation team holds change management certification and offers in-depth training sessions with easy access to experienced instructors. Look for companies whose implementation teams have firsthand public sector experience to lessen the learning curve and get maximum value out of the new system quickly.

4. What is the commitment to supporting clients – now and in the future?

Support needs don’t end immediately after implementation. Questions and issues can arise as users dig into new systems. Experience, resources, accessibility, and responsiveness are the building blocks of top-tier customer service for ERP providers. Dig into client retention numbers to gauge the quality of client support and look for companies with above 95%.

5. What is the track record of product offerings?

The quality of the product itself is perhaps the most important consideration. An ecosystem of proven products that meet all business needs well and integrate to eliminate silos is a government’s most important foundation. Choosing a provider with comprehensive ERP suites simplifies implementation and surfaces relevant data throughout an organization. Strong ERP candidates will also offer specific examples of success stories.

Because of the long-term commitment and significant investment, choosing the right ERP partner is critical. Explore these five key questions in greater depth to make sure your next ERP provider can meet your needs now and well into the future.

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