My husband and I are expecting our first child this summer! We are already five months along and there is still so much to learn about the arrival of our little one. When selecting a cloud-based ERP system, it may be difficult to anticipate all the opportunities or challenges to come. In either case, here are some important things to help plan for what’s ahead:
- Decide when to spill the beans: Couples are generally advised to wait 12 weeks to announce a pregnancy. We kept our little secret as long as possible but couldn’t help sharing the news with our families before this milestone. Announcing a potential switch in ERP systems can send waves of panic throughout your organization. Prioritize those who will be involved in the decision-making process early on. Also consider how you’ll make the news public to the rest of your employees-- it is important to develop a communications plan to address the change formally, through emails, all-hands meetings, or one-on-ones.
- Create a short list: Having attended my fair share of baby showers, I was aware of how many gadgets exist to clothe, feed, and comfort a child. Building a registry has been overwhelming but with the help of my mom friends, I have been able to focus on a few must have items. Similarly, there are a variety of modern cloud ERPs in the marketplace that may potentially meet your business needs. When developing a technology strategy, educate yourself on the benefits and risks associated with a range of applications including on-premise, hosted and cloud. By hiring the right consultants, you can quickly arrive at a short list of vendors that are worth evaluating.
- Document your journey: My friends and family can hardly see a difference in my physical appearance to date but my husband and I are amazed at just how much our child has grown. I have been keeping a journal to track my pregnancy, where I store photos of my baby bump and keep advices I’ve received from friends and family handy. Make time to document your current and future state processes as part of your ERP selection and implementation. Process flows which define end-to-end scenarios, users, and data inputs and outputs will enable you to better articulate how procedures, responsibilities, and systems are going to change.
- Define your goals: Soon after our wedding, my husband and I wrote down our personal and professional goals for the year. This has allowed us to direct our time and resources toward starting a family and purchasing a new home. Provide ERP vendors a list of goals as part of your RFP. Whether it be increasing revenues, reducing manual processes or satisfying new regulatory requirements, using goal-setting language will enable vendors to focus their responses on the strengths of their solution and how it can support your strategic objectives.
- Understand the costs: While we may not have a real sense of what the cost of raising a child is, we have done our best to estimate future expenses. There are one-time costs that we are anticipating like a stroller and bedroom furniture as well as recurring ones such as food, daycare and clothing. Ask for a high-level estimate for potential vendors early to eliminate ERPs that are outside of your budget. As you get closer to selecting a solution, request that the vendors recast their initial quotes to account for more informed implementation costs and their best pricing for annual subscription fees.
The path to starting a family or selecting cloud-based ERPs is paved with both excitement and uncertainty. When companies take time to plan for and carefully consider the changes in store, they are better set up to successfully adopt a new system into their lives.