The ERP software demonstration is an important part of the ERP selection process, but evaluation team members who attend multiple ERP demonstrations may forget key parts of the meeting or start mixing up aspects of vendor software. Creating vendor scorecards for team members to complete could reduce confusion and improve the overall ERP implementation process.
Potential categories to include in these dashboards are the vendor’s business history and the availability of multiple languages and currencies in the software.
Here’s why vendor dashboards are important, along with some things to include in an ERP demo dashboard.
Why It’s Important to Use Dashboards for an ERP Demo
An ERP software evaluation team will likely find vendor demo scorecards useful for a variety of reasons, including the following:
1. They help with objectivity
One or more team members may have developed a good working relationship with a vendor prior to demos, which can lead to favoritism. Team members rating each supplier using the same criteria will hopefully reduce this.
2. They help participants remember what worked and what didn’t
After watching demos from multiple ERP vendors, evaluation team members may have trouble remembering the details of each presentation. Completing a scorecard for each ERP demo can help team members track positives and negatives during the demo, while the presentation always takes priority.
3. They provide a framework for vendor comparison
Using the same rating model makes it easier to compare feedback from team members after demos because everyone uses the same rating system.
Dashboards can also reveal different impressions of the software if team member notes in a certain category are all over the map. For example, if one team member gives a vendor a high rating for software integration and another team member gives a low rating, the team can contact the vendor and get more details. on the software integration of the product.
4. They Remind Team Members to Focus on Certain Features
During the demo, vendors may emphasize particular software features, but those features may not be important to the business. Supplier dashboards can remind team members of important software features and prompt team members to steer the supplier toward a discussion of key ERP software features.
How to Create the ERP Vendor Demo Scorecard
Some best practices for creating the vendor demo scorecard can make using them easier and more efficient.
Team members should rate the items using a five-point scale, with a score of “1” indicating “does not fully meet the requirements/needs of the organization” and “5” indicating ” fully meets the requirements/needs of the organization”. In cases where team members are evaluating particular items, such as requirements, they should complete the items before the demo, so that everyone is evaluating the same factors.
Weighting each section differently, so that some elements take precedence over others, might be helpful for some teams. For example, the “Feature” section might be 50% of the overall score, while another section like “Company History” might be only 5% of the overall score.
Team members should evaluate each supplier separately and the scorecard should include separate tables for each supplier.
Potential items to include on the scorecard
While the needs of each ERP assessment team will vary, these items are potentially valuable additions to a vendor demo scorecard:
A vendor demonstration is an opportunity for the evaluation team to know if the ERP software will meet the organization’s requirements. The dashboard should include specific features or workflows that the organization needs.
Prior to the demo, the team should research the ERP software to become familiar with the most basic features of the software and to be able to focus the demo on key requirements and more complex needs.
2. Ease of use of the software
Usability is an important consideration when evaluating ERP software. Complex software will increase the amount of training required for employees and the time employees will take to complete tasks when using the new ERP system, possibly affecting overall productivity.
Additionally, a poor software user experience can lead to errors and employee reluctance to use the new system, as well as data quality issues.
3. Company History
An ERP vendor usually starts the demo by sharing an overview of their business. Assessment team members should take note of the age of the business, members of the management team, size of the organization, and financial stability. These factors could affect the vendor’s ability to implement the software and support it post-go-live.
Ideally, evaluation team members should learn some of this information before the demonstration, so that they can prepare for any potential questions for the vendor.
4. Availability of currencies and languages
A company that operates in multiple countries will need an ERP system that supports multiple currencies and languages. The review team should confirm that users can enter amounts in every currency and can aggregate all amounts into a chosen currency with customizable exchange rates.
The assessment team should also ask how the system aggregates financial data for multiple currencies.
For language support, the team should confirm that employees can enter data in multiple languages and that labels, menus, system-generated messages, and the help system are all available in the languages required by the organization. company. Team members should also ask if technical support is available in each language.
The language and currency options for any other application included in the proposed system, in addition to the main ERP application, must also meet these criteria.
5. Software integration
Prior to the demo, the team should create a list of interfaces and share it with the vendor for them to review.
If the organization uses other systems that will need to get data or push data to the new ERP software, the team will want to confirm that this is possible with the new software. For example, data from the ERP system can integrate with a financial application.
The team should check which methods are available for integration – e.g. API or Comma Separated Values (CSV) – and inquire about vendor support during implementation and post-go-live .
Due to the benefits of pre-built integrations, team members may want to rate pre-built integrations higher than custom integrations.
6. Third Party Software Requirements
If the company must use third-party software with the vendor’s ERP software, the assessment team should determine how many third-party vendors are involved and who they are prior to the demonstration. This is especially important when the third-party provider will provide important functionality such as dashboards and reports. The team should receive a demo from any third-party vendor that will provide crucial functionality. This demo can be part of the ERP vendor demo, or it can be organized separately.
If applications from multiple vendors are used to build the overall ERP system, the evaluation team should evaluate each application separately. A line where each team member rates the overall system could be a useful addition to the scorecard if this is the case.
7. Implementing Partner
ERP vendors often rely on implementation partners to implement their software. In some cases, the vendor may recommend an implementation partner that it has used in the past.
The team should find out as much as possible about the implementing partner, especially their experience – or lack thereof – in implementing the ERP system for organizations in similar industries. They should also ask if the partner can watch the demonstration.
If the vendor does not recommend a specific implementation partner, the implementation partner selection process can take place after the assessment team has selected an ERP system.
8. Next steps
Team members should write down potential next steps and determine if the vendor has the resources to start the project within the organization’s time frame. Team members should also ask the vendor about their implementation approach and whether the company will need a contract for each third party. If the supplier is a reseller of the other applications, the team may not require other contracts.
Team members should also check if the seller provides support for project management and whether the vendor offers other services that could benefit the ERP implementation.