An introduction to ERP demos

Your company is shopping for a new ERP system. Whether this is your first one or a replacement system, we all start on the internet these days. Your searches by now have already given you the first kind of ERP demos available from many vendors – the video presentation.

Video ERP demos

These are quick to watch and might provide some insight to the utility of that ERP to your business. While you can see the user screen layouts, you can only get a brief glimpse into the workings of the system. Remember, these are advertising media designed to show you what the ERP provider thinks are their strong points while glossing over or omitting the weak points and areas where they don’t perceive a competitive advantage for their ERP. Watch a few of these for vendors on your shortlist, then sit down with your team and compare notes. There is a chance one system might make your next level of comparisons due to a video demonstration.

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ensure you are as prepared as possible for vendor sales-speak using this step-by-step guide to the ERP demo process

Self-run ERP demos

Some ERP vendors offer these, but not all. Self-run ERP demos provide you with a user ID and password and an opportunity to run your own demo. Many of these are excellent tools to help you toward a choice. Many others are quite limited with only a few part numbers to use for testing purchase orders or sales fulfillment. Even so, if they meet your key selection criteria well, this type of demo could help make your selection.

Traditional vendor-led ERP demos

These are still the best choice to really get into an ERP and see how those critical factors of yours will work with a particular ERP, and come in a variety of flavors. Sometimes the sales representative will visit your site and log into their ERP. Their demo database will have every module, bell and whistle they offer available to see. Another popular method is for a demonstration specialist to lead the performance using a web presentation. Either method will provide an excellent demonstration for you and your company.

Now the onus falls on you to control the demonstration. The demonstrator will show what they know best and avoid features they have observed other prospects to question. Retrieve that list you prepared with ERP factors that absolutely must be in your ERP to help achieve your goals.

The ERP providers you selected will have a preset script for their demonstrations. They might be reluctant to admit it or share it with you, but insist. They do ERP demos for a living and their livelihood depends on making sales - their demo will be planned to make the best impression. Get the script in advance and make sure those factors are covered with adequate time allowed. Recall those factors that would be nice to have and then eliminate any other features from the demonstration. Now that your demonstration script is set, let the demonstrator take the helm and show off what they have. Sit back and take notes.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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