The Definition of Insanity and ERP

“The last company I worked for we put together this awesome RFP. I think we should use that as a basis for our RFP and comparison for our ERP project. I mean, how different could we be?”

So the ERP selection process goes from bad to worse. How can that happen? Because think about what happens when you start your RFP with someone else’s old RFP. You read the old RFP!

Why is that a bad thing? Because you’re trying to use someone else’s information and make it fit into your company. You see all these “new great ideas?” in the RFP and it becomes lengthy, distorted, convoluted, and somewhat useless. This process to select ERP software has been in place for well over 40 years and the success rate of implementations remains dismal. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing for 40 years and expecting a different outcome. We must change the process of software selection.

What’s the real purpose of an RFP? To compare vendors, features/functions, and pricing. What’s the real purpose of selecting new software? To match the processes you feel make your company unique and support the company strategy while maintaining the “standard processes?” that are necessary to run the business and provide the people with a tool that supports both them and the company’s goals. This is the merging of the business strategy, business processes, people, and technology.

  • Start with the goals and objectives of the company and how they want to serve their customers, vendors, and internal personnel.

  • Look at the processes that support the company strategy and design those processes to enhance the lives of people inside the process while improving customer service and business goals.

  • Lastly, let’s see how technology can play a role in improving those processes.

You have the power to stop the insanity. If you’re using outside resources to help with the selection/implementation, look for two things:

  1. Do they have ties to an ERP vendor or the ERP vendor community?

  2. Is the main source of vendor comparison the RFP process?

If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then simply shortcut the process and ask the outside resource which product they recommend because you’re going to end up with it anyway and you can save yourself a ton of money.