ERP is the perfect example of a true enterprise app. It is something that staff at all levels will rely on. And it manages the single most valuable asset your business owns – data. That is why you must carefully and comprehensively evaluate various options before making any formal commitments.
There are lots of ways to go about your due diligence – requesting a demo, reaching out to current customers, getting an expert evaluation of the underlying tech, considering on-premises vs. cloud etc. But one of the most illustrative resources available to you is case studies relevant to specific ERP products.
Case studies reveal a lot about a product and even more about a vendor, even if they have been created by the vendor themselves. A close reading of these documents can tell you much about the level of performance, service, and support you can expect by picking one vendor over another. Here are some features to focus on as you start diving into case studies.
Whether a Product Aligns with Your Business Needs
Most vendors will claim their product is perfectly suited to your enterprise and point to experience in or around your industry to prove it. Case studies allow you to examine how that ERP performs in environments that are as similar as possible to your own. Looking for case studies written about your competitors, about companies with similar sizes/structures, or about companies facing the same issues as you can lead you to products with a proven relevance to your enterprise.
How Smoothly You can Expect the Implementation to Go
You can find countless case studies highlighting both successful and wildly unsuccessful implementation efforts. The outcomes are important, but it is the details that are most instructive. You want to partner with a vendor that streamlines the implementation while troubleshooting the myriad issues that inevitable arise. Don’t look for case studies that describe a perfect process perfectly executed. Look for case studies that describe how the vendor and the client were able to overcome setbacks and mistakes using superior ERP resources.
The Level of Support Your Vendor is Willing to Provide
A lot of case studies taper off after the implementation. They suggest that everything has worked perfectly without a single user having questions or issues. But this is wildly unrealistic, and the second half of the story has been left off for a reason. Quality ERP support is essential, but many vendors are either unwilling or unable to be the authoritative, on-demand resources users are looking for. Case studies that obscure or ignore the importance of support should raise red flags.
Whether Claims are Facts or Fictions
ERP vendors will try and court you by making bold claims and enticing promises. But it is easy to promise anything and much harder to back it up with metrics, facts, and figures. A big reason to scour case studies is so you can put the vendor’s promises in context. For instance, if a vendor claims that its ERP has boosted productivity by 30%, the case study should tell you how, and whether there is more to that story than the figures suggest.
The information in any case study should be taken with a grain of salt. But it should never be ignored. At the very least, case studies can help you to enhance the way you interview and evaluate various vendors. Once you’ve read how they interact with other clients, you’re in a better position to explore the positives and negatives of forming your own relationship. If you want to go beyond the case studies, use them to find contacts for executives and decision makers who can give you honest, unvarnished information.