Evaluating your ERP demos: what to bear in mind

Whether you had one ERP demo or a dozen, afterward, it is time to score and rank them.

What does an ERP demo score sheet look like?

Begin with basics: name of the ERP, name of the demonstrators, date, time, length of the presentation are a few data fields you need to start with. Next, return to the reasons you are considering an ERP system. Consider each reason. Did they cover it at all? Was there enough depth? Would you definitely rule this ERP out after the demo, or is it still in consideration?

Recommended reading: get to grips with evaluating vendor presentations using our five-step guide to mastering the ERP demo phase.

Devise ways to quantitatively evaluate the replies. You could use a 1 to 10 scale or a range from ‘perfectly meets our needs’ to ‘completely fails to meet our needs’. Provide a small space with room for up to 100 words to elaborate on how well this ERP responded to your needs.

Repeat these questions for each of your must-have ERP requirements. Then ask a few qualitative questions such as whether the presentation was well-coordinated and professional. Did the demonstrators respect your time and stay within the limit you requested? Did they spend enough time on your points and not too much on points they think make their software sizzle? One last question could be a wide-open request for the viewer’s opinion. These last questions are mostly to break ties. Whether they can satisfy your requirements is critical.

Evaluating your ERP demo scores

Collect a score sheet from every person who saw the demo whether live or perhaps a recorded version if they were unable to attend the live presentation. Check against your attendance logs to be sure everyone turned in a reply. Enter each reply score in a spreadsheet and total up the scores. You probably can eliminate some of the ERPs from consideration at this point.

First, look at the scores you recorded. Are there any statistical anomalies? Someone might have given a ten score when all the others were in the 6 – 7 range. Talk to that person and understand why the scored it so high – did they see something no one else saw? Take the average score and keep going to calculate the median and mode too. That lone 10 score can skew a mean but will not affect a median.

You now have your top ranked ERP demos. Let your team see the totals and ask for feedback on those top few only. One ERP might have a high score but also left behind a bad taste on someone’s mouth. Understand why that taste was left and think about whether this ERP should be a finalist. If that someone is the boss, be careful about making that ERP a finalist.

You will be left with one or maybe two ERP systems and providers with whom you will continue the conversation. Good luck.

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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 customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller

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