Why is the ERP Discovery Phase Important to an ERP Project?
When we start talking with companies evaluating new ERP solutions, they’ll often ask to see a demo of the software right away. We get it – you’re excited about the project and want to get a feel for what the system looks like and how it works. But there’s a crucial step that comes before a software demo that we never skip – discovery.
What is an ERP discovery?
As an ERP implementation partner, it’s our job to help companies find the right ERP solution to solve their challenges and enable them to achieve their objectives. While you might have a list of functionality you want in your new system, that’s not enough to determine the best fit solution. In the discovery phase, we open up every last wall. We put ourselves in your shoes and go deep to understand your unique business structure, process, culture and your people. We focus on two key areas:
Functional requirements: This includes things like which modules and functionality you need configured, the reports you want to run and whether your ERP system will be integrated with other applications.
Business challenges and opportunities: We’ll uncover the key problems you’re facing in your business, and discover opportunities for efficiencies and improvements. This essentially becomes the roadmap for your ERP solution – if some or all of these key challenges are solved and improvements unlocked after implementation, the project is a success.
Discovery should always come before demo
Imagine you’re doing a major home reno – you’re stripping the house down to the studs and reconfiguring the entire layout. Would you want your contractor to show up with a fully formed plan in the first meeting? Probably not. Because they don’t understand your needs yet. To design a home that truly works for you, they need to uncover what doesn’t work in the current design, what your family needs, how you want to use the space, etc. Only then can they design a solution that will help you get to your desired future state.
The same is true in an ERP project. You’ll find some ERP providers that offer live software demos to large groups – all you have to do is sign up. They’ll demonstrate the key features of the solution and maybe some advanced capabilities to give you the ‘wow factor’. But you’ll likely walk away feeling underwhelmed. Perhaps you have specific features that you need, but they don’t cover it in the demo. Or maybe the demo is geared toward an industry that’s very different from yours. Suddenly you have more questions than answers. Here’s why – you still don’t know how the system will work for you.
Discovery is designed to avoid that situation altogether. It’s an essential component of a well-crafted demo that showcases not just an ERP solution, but the right ERP solution for your business. You’ll walk away from the demo with a clear picture of how the solution addresses both your business challenges and functional requirements. To make your ERP demo evaluation effective, embrace the discovery process – the result is worth the effort.