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Who Do You Get Involved in Selecting a New CRM or ERP Solution?
By Enabliser Andrew
When selecting a CRM or ERP solution there has been a tendency to give a great deal of weight to the opinions of the Finance or IT departments and in most cases this is justified but this should never be automatic. This article discusses who in your organisation should be involved in the process of selecting a new CRM or ERP solution.
I have been recommending solutions to organisations for a number of years - which has put me in contact with a large number of IT Managers. One thing that stands out is the variety of skill sets that people in this role will have. Some are very business systems focussed whilst the vast majority tend to be more focussed on servers and infrastructure, some to the exclusion of all other aspects. This is not a criticism of IT Managers, but it should be a consideration when involving them in the process to select a new solution. IT Managers who do not have a lot of experience with business systems and process will have a limited view when making recommendations on how the solution will perform for the business as a whole, which can lead to some incorrect assumptions being made which can only negatively impact the whole process. This is a key consideration in the degree to which IT should be involved in the selection and decision process, as it always more than a technology question: it evolves around people and process.
The same can be said of the finance and accounting department of an organisation. Whilst the solution will be responsible for accounting functions and producing financial reports which are the domain of finance, most ERP solutions will have a significant impact on the operational departments of the business as well. It is their input which can be overlooked, and this oversight will always be detrimental to the benefits an ERP solution can deliver.
When deciding who to involve in the process of CRM or ERP selection, some key questions come to mind. Firstly, who will be the most impacted? Consider who will use the results or data produced and who will interact with the system the most to provide these inputs. This last group is often overlooked as being insignificant, in favour of the users of the results, but as they provide the raw information to the system, is it not vital to ensure the quality and validity of that information? The second question is who will benefit the most? That is, what are the key Return on Investment areas and who are the key stakeholders in these areas? These people will not only need to buy into the solution to make it work, but their input will be invaluable to ensure that the returns you are aiming at can be achieved.
Another key consideration is which key processes need to be automated, and who is responsible for these processes. It should go without saying that this input is critical to getting the automation to deliver what the manual process has delivered as a minimum.
Once these aspects have been considered, the selection of a cross functional team should almost choose itself and will provide a balanced view around a solution and its impact on the business, people and processes that deliver results.