After identifying the need to implement an ERP solution, you will have gone through the various stages to select the correct ERP solution that compliments your business requirements the best. However the challenge may still be to convince the MD or the Board of Directors that this is the right solution for you.
It could be compared to a session in the Dragon’s Den and the last thing you want is to end up a sweaty nervous wreck that cannot get your words out and hear those dreaded words “I’m out”.
While this article is not going to focus so much on the physical techniques to overcome pitching nerves and anxiety, this article will hopefully help you prepare for questions that might get directed your way.
Step 1 – know how much you need to allocate for this ERP Project
The question that is going to be the frontrunner to any successful pitch to the board for approval is the budget requirements. Perhaps you have already been allocated a budget by the board, in which case you need to show that this project should fall in or over budget, don`t be afraid to justify why you need the extra funds. If it is the case that an extra £5,000 now could save your company £20,000 in labour costs over the next year the story looks a little different, compared to just wanting extra funds because the solution may look prettier.
You are unlikely to be able to get a fixed rate price, as until you have carried out a Project Scoping exercise with your ERP Partner, the exact requirements are un-accounted for. However you should be able to get an estimate and ask your partner what typically happens with the estimates on previous ERP implementations are they coming in on budget or tending to go over as an average.
Step 2 – Identify any potential ROI for your company
This is not always easy to do, but where possible it is best to identify any areas you might be able to create savings. For example it could be that Business Intelligence enables you to create reports in minutes compared to a more manual process that takes days or even weeks. Your time can then be spent on decision making rather than putting together administrative tasks for the analysis.
It could be that integrating a third party automation tool with the ERP solution gives you a further ROI – One such product we find in the Sage industry is Spindle Professional and Credit Hound. In some cases a whole ERP project can be paid for through cost savings of integrating Spindle.
Step 3 – Fall in love with the ERP solution
There is nothing worse than asking for buy in to your project from everyone in your organisation if you are not sold on the solution yourself. You have to be decisive in deciding the solution is the way to go and see all the benefits it can bring to your business. If you are uncertain talk to your ERP Partner and ask any questions you may have. It could be you want to talk to one of their current customers that may have been through a similar process. Perhaps you need to take a look at case studies or testimonials for reassurance.
Step 4 – Ask for the organisation to embrace the change management
One of the greatest benefits of a modern Enterprise Resource Planning solution is the seamless integration and collaboration opportunities it brings between departments in your company. However, in order for this to work you are going to require buy in from the ground up. There is no denying this will take commitment and work from all departments, but once you get it all setup and working correctly, the benefits will far outweigh the initial pain.
Step 5 – Keep faith that you are making the right decision
This reminds me of a quote by Barack Obama -
“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”Barack Obama