Few organizations today can remain competitive without implementing enterprise software functionality and capabilities.Enterprise systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), and HR/human capital management (HCM) promise great benefits.
Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software is now available for horizontal applications, such as accounting systems, ERP systems, CRM systems, and also for industry-specific systems in nearly every industry sector. When truly unique systems of competitive advantage are needed, they can often be built as extensions to commercial enterprise software.
Client Case Study
Avasant supported a leading global non-profit in software selection by helping assess its existing ERP implementation and explore other ERP alternatives to support the changing requirements. The client had completed an implementation of ERP platform five years ago. However, the platform was highly customized resulting in a costly, complex, and difficult to use system. Avasant collaborated with the client by conducting current state assessments and ERP functional and technical requirements gathering. Further, Avasant designed scenarios and conducted market assessments for an alternative ERP ecosystem that aligned to clients’ overall business requirements. Avasant team developed a business case for migrating to an alternative ERP ecosystem and helped select a new ERP platform. The Avasant team also helped the client create an implementation plan leading their way to more agile operations suited for their evolving global needs.
Choosing the right enterprise system requires an organized approach: assessing business processes, building the business case, analyzing key requirements, screening vendors, and organizing demonstrations. But who has the experience, time, resources, and tools to do it right?
Nevertheless, evaluating, selecting, and implementing a new enterprise system is becoming more and more difficult. The underlying technologies are changing. Some systems look good on the surface but may not be the best fit for specific industries. Others may not provide flexibility for the future. Still others may be overkill for small and midsize businesses. Vendor viability, software reliability, and ease of implementation must also be considered.
In addition, over the years, there have been many mergers and acquisitions among enterprise software vendors, and it is not always clear whether a particular system is really part of the surviving vendor’s product road map. This is especially the case when evaluating solutions from vendors that have done major acquisitions, such as Oracle, SAP, Infor, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Epicor, Aptean, and others.
Cloud-based systems add another level of complexity to the decision. Is the vendor’s cloud ERP offering really software as a service (SaaS)? Or is it merely the vendor’s traditional on-premises ERP now offered in a hosted data center as a managed service? And, does it matter? How do cloud solutions, such as Salesforce.com, Workday, Oracle NetSuite, Plex, FinancialForce, Sage Intacct, Acumatica, and others, compare with traditional vendors offering cloudversions of their solutions?
System Selection Approach
Avasant provides independent consulting in enterprise software selection and vendor evaluation. Our methodology has two main phases:
Phase I: The systems strategy, to decide which systems should be maintained, upgraded, or replaced, and
Phase II: The sourcing transaction to procure the right software vendor and service providers, whether they be for system implementation, hosting, or managed services.
Avasant offers a unique approach backed by experience and data
Although other consulting firms provide similar methodologies, our approach is unique in the following ways.
Leveraging online surveys. The traditional approach is to conduct weeks of interviews with stakeholders to understand the business. Our approach is to leverage online surveys to collect feedback from as many users as possible to identify the pain points and unmet needs of the business, giving everyone a voice in the assessment.
Business process analysis.Rather than conducing an exhaustive exercise in business process mapping, our current state assessment begins with business process framing to assess current processes, comparing them to better business practices, understanding how the business is changing, and what the new system must do to support the future business.
Focus on key issues. In understanding business requirements, our software selection consultants focus on differentiators: things that make your organization different from others and things that make enterprise software vendors different from one another. We use these key requirements to drive the Market Scan to identify those vendors who are the best fit for your organization-specific needs.
Consider alternatives.For many organizations, the best way forward is not always clear. Should an entire legacy system be replaced, or should all or parts of it be upgraded and extended. Is an integrated suite the best choice, or is a best-of-breed strategy recommended? Our IT strategy consultants consider multiple alternatives in Phase I before going on to the sourcing transaction in Phase II.
Getting to a short list efficiently. Many buyers make the mistake of starting their software selection projects by talking to vendors. Our software selection consultants, on the other hand, shorten the list of candidate vendors in a three-step qualification funnel that gets you to the right solution without taking up inordinate amounts of time from your project team.
Evaluating implementation consultants as well as software vendors. Too many software projects fail, not because the customer chooses the wrong system but because the implementation consulting firm is not qualified. Our process places as much weight on selecting the right service provider as selecting the right software vendor.
Absolute and total independence. Because we do not sell software or partner with technology vendors for implementation services, our software selection consultants have the independence and objectivity necessary to give unbiased advice. We sit on your side of the table only.
Our software consulting services do not end with vendor selection. With our implementation project management, organizational change management, and process improvement services, we can continue our engagement through implementation of the chosen system.
Backed by Data and Insights
Leveraging Strativa Analytics platform
Strativa® is an Avasant analytics platform to support the selection, price comparison, and procurement of the best-fit technology solutions for your organization. From enterprise software evaluation to cloud deployment options, we provide data-driven insights to help buyers make the right technology choices.
Avasant management consultants utilize this platform to provide independent and unbiased advice for organizations to make data driven business and technology decisions, along with practical assistance to carry out those decisions for bottom line results.