If you are contemplating implementing a new software solution such as an ERP, finding the software that best addresses your specific needs and those of your industry is an important first step. Such software is intended to be the “sole version of the truth,” collecting information as business is transacted, providing reporting to monitor business conditions, and providing the underlying data for analysis of effectiveness and opportunity. Because most such solutions are sold through a partner network, selecting the right partner for your business is just as important.

It’s a difficult choice to make. Most firms lack an internal technology team with specific implementation experience to guide the process. Whetstone can provide assistance developing criteria and supporting the selection of both a good solution and a good partner. Since we have no “skin in the game” our advice is entirely objective and our efforts are exclusively to support you in making the best choice for your business.

We begin the process by meeting with internal stakeholders to develop or augment existing process documentation. It’s important to make note of the value added by processes and any specific competitive advantage a process yields. If a process is found by the stakeholders to not add value the business may wish to abandon it.

A note about process: If your goal is to better track your business your success is more likely. Some firms see these implementations as a way of improving or re-engineering process. These tend to fail. If process reform is your goal, it’s best to focus on that and implement software when process is more stable.

Once process maps are developed we examine available software to produce a short-list of those that have the best match for internal process. It will be necessary for stakeholders to spend time reviewing the software for best fit, and because of the software vendor/partner relationship, we should develop a short list of partners as well.

We’ll work with the stakeholders to find out what they seek most in a partner. You’ll want experience not only with the solution but with your industry, along with a good understanding of what resources a partner can bring to bear and what their availability is like. A good cultural fit helps to establish good communications and provides a better prospect for a strong long-term relationship. References are a must, as is a sound financial footing.

Our long experience with these types of implementations can provide significant benefit to your project.

If your internal team does not feel equipped to manage such a project, we can help by either providing project management or supporting an internal project manager. It’s important to manage the scope of such implementations and set reasonable goals and expectations. Most bad outcomes are the result of overly ambitious project plans, or the lack of good planning altogether. With our long and successful track record, we can help to mitigate those risks.