If you ask any successful ERP provider, they will tell you that the most important key to their success is their Detailed Needs Analysis (DNA). Implementing a new ERP system for a company is a lot like removing the wings from a flying airplane, and getting the new ones on before you hit the ground.  It requires experience, agility, possibly a little luck, and more than anything else, it requires that your ERP provider have a thorough working knowledge of every nook and cranny of your company’s operations.

An ERP provider can’t have the required familiarity without a Detailed Needs Analysis.  In order to prepare a DNA, your ERP provider must:

·         Closely examine all your business processes, paying particular attention to your “special sauce”.  Those are the business processes that give you a competitive edge.  Very simply, your special sauce is what differentiates you from your competition, and it’s what you’ve learned through the years that makes you more efficient and more consistent.  Lose your special sauce, and you lose your competitive edge.

·         Interview all the key stakeholders. There’s likely a great deal of institutional knowledge stored in your staff’s heads, and getting to it requires a careful conversation.  Not conducting that conversation risks the success of your implementation.

·        Talk to your best customers. This is to find out how you can be better servicing their needs.

·         Know where your major pains are. These are all of the gaps between your current ERP system, and your ideal business processes.

·         Know where your company is headed. Unless you want an ERP system that is outdated in two years, your ERP provider better have a good handle on what your plans for growth and diversification are.

Any thorough DNA will require a great deal of time to be spent by your ERP provider.  Don’t expect to get the DNA at no charge – you get what you pay for.  A charge of $5,000 to $10,000 or more is not unusual for a high quality DNA with a written set of findings.  If you require the ERP provider to perform their DNA without charging for it, then don’t expect written findings that you can use to shop around for a better price.  A high quality and written set of findings will be software-agnostic.  That means that you can attach those findings to the RFP that you send out to multiple ERP publishers and providers.  The money that you spend on such a DNA may be one of the best business investments that you’ll ever make.



About the Author
Doug Deane is President of DSD Business Systems, an international provider of on-demand (cloud) and on-premises ERP and CRM software, specializing in wholesale distribution, manufacturing, warehouse management, inventory, business intelligence and eCommerce software.  DSD offers NetSuite Cloud ERP, NetSuite CRM, NetSuite eCommerce, Sage 100 ERP (formerly MAS 90), Sage 300 ERP (formerly Accpac), Sage 500 ERP (formerly MAS 500), Sage FAS, Sage HRMS (formerly Abra), Sage CRM, Sage SalesLogix, Sage Add-Ons (Extended Solutions), and Custom Programming.  DSD has been a multi-time Sage President’s Circle award winner, a two-time Sage Gold Development Partner of the Year recipient, has been recognized by the San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB) as a Torch Award Finalist (2009) and Torch Award Winner (2010) for Marketplace Ethics, and has been recognized by the Council of Better Business Bureaus as a 2012 International BBB Torch Award Finalist for Marketplace Excellence.

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