Detailed Needs Assessments: Success is in Our DNA
If you ask any successful ERP provider, they will tell you that the most important key to their success is their Detailed Needs Assessment (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 Assessment.
In order to prepare a DNA, your ERP provider must do the following:
- 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.
- Understand where your major pains are.
These are all of the gaps between your current ERP system, and your ideal business processes.
- Understand 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Unless you want an ERP system that is outdated in two years, your ERP provider better have a good handle on what your plans for growth and diversification are.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, Founder of DSD Business Systems
Doug Deane is Founder 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.