How to select a new system:
First and most importantly create a steering/selection committee represented by individuals throughout the organization. This committee will be the resource to move the company through a successful selection by representing their functional area, defining the requirements, evaluating software against those requirements and be an advocate for the software chosen. Much higher success (based on completion of selection and implementation within a timeline) is achieved with a committee verses just accounting or IT involvement. Generally, these are the steps you should take when looking at replacing your existing systems:
1. Document your needs – Thoroughly document your current processes and procedures. Gather this information by functional area.
2. Identify your key requirements – Document the key items you need your system to perform.
3. Research possible solutions – Look at specific (vertical) solutions specific to your company.
4. Request for Information – Send vendors your key requirements and ask them to reply with their ability to meet your needs and the approximate cost for software and implementation.
5. Demo Script – Prepare a demo script outlining key requirements. Dictate the items the vendor is to cover during the demo in a flow that most resembles your business.
6. Conduct the demo – Using your demo script, schedule vendors to prove to you that they can deliver on what they have promised.
7. Finalize Selection – Select the one system that meets your needs over the others. Finalize the cost and timeline, including software, implementation, training, hardware and annual ongoing costs to fully understand your commitment of resources.
8. Implement – A proper implementation plan will continue you down the road toward success.
While companies with proper resources can perform these searches on their own following these steps, many choose to hire an outside facilitator with the experience, tools and templates to set a realistic timeline and provide expertise about vendors. Sometimes, solutions look good on paper and in a demonstration, but in practice, some companies offer much more in customer support and implementation after the sale is made.