“Look at this list of references from the vendor. These guys have our biggest competitor! This is obviously the ERP package we should go with right?” Sure, if you want to be just like your competitor and give up your unique position in the market.

So you want to buy (or bought) a software package because your competitor had it? And you feel that the software company already has all the “best practices” figured out for your industry? You realize that even though both of you are selling similar products there’s a reason you’re both still in business? Chances are your processes are not the same as your competitors’ processes and by purchasing the same software, installing it the same way, giving up your unique processes to be more like your competitor, you’ve just doomed your business to be subservient to your competitor. Why? Because they’ve been doing it longer, already have the customers that want to do business that way and you’ve given up your competitive edge to the software.

The RFP is one of the most contentious and costly steps in the “normal” software selection process (read more about that subject), so some companies think they can get around the RFP and/or assessment simply by buying the software that’s licensed by their competitors. Even company culture plays a role in the selection and implementation. You sure you want to be just like your competitor?

The point being, regardless of what software you buy, you still need to do an assessment. The vendor may not call it an assessment but they still have to do a process review, or survey or whatever they will call it but if you let them do it, they’re going to try to shoehorn you into their software and call it “best practices”. So in any case, it’s not to your advantage to allow your vendor/implementer to do your process reviews.

Now is also a good time to remind you that regardless of the software selection; ERP, CRM. SCM, WMS, or even any kind of “point solution”, etc, the story is the same. From our first post through this post and beyond, the story is the same. Would you consider buying the same WMS as your competitor? Of course, but you use “pick to light” and they use “voice pick”. Still interested? Sure. How about your competitors SCM system? You use 3PL’s they have more of a DC concept. Still interested? Sure, but hopefully the point is being made? ERP is the same, looking is fine, buying needs a lot more research.

Next time we’ll dig deeper into how to compare systems.

David Warford

As co-Founder and Managing Partner at KnowledgePath Consulting, Inc. David applies his 30+ years of experience in the technology industry, exceptional leadership skills, and his commitment to honesty and transparency to ensuring client success. He drives customer relationships that span the globe in numerous industries and product categories.