I received a recent email from a firm that provides ERP software evaluation tools and has analysts and consultants who work with clients to evaluate software solutions. Their headline message jumped out at me immediately, which read, “Once you sign on the dotted line for a new ERP system, you own it – for better or worse.” While this statement is true in almost every case, it is not true when companies work with a software vendor that provides them with a software acceptance process.
So, what is a software acceptance process, and how does it work? A software acceptance process is a money-back guarantee to a company acquiring ERP software following contract signing and initial software installation. We know that during a software evaluation process, personnel from the company evaluating software do their best to describe the processes and capabilities they require in a new software solution. The vendor’s responsibility is to understand the prospect’s requirements and to show and describe to them how their software matches up with those requirements. Unfortunately, this process is flawed.
Prospect personnel cannot understand and describe clearly what they are looking for from new software. Likewise, software vendor personnel cannot comprehend perfectly what is being requested by the prospect personnel. There will always be gaps in understanding and communication; however, a software company that offers a software acceptance process embraces this fact and helps to make it a non-issue. Software vendors who offer the software acceptance process don’t want customers to be fooled or misled into buying software that isn’t what they thought it was during the evaluation process.
This reminds me of an old joke about a guy who is given the opportunity to choose where he wants to spend eternity. He visits heaven and finds it to be sedate – with harps and angels singing. He then visits hell and finds gourmet food, great music, and lots of golf courses to play. The guy debates his options and then chooses hell. He’s immediately whisked away to fire-engulfed surroundings to which the guy asks where the food, music, and golf courses went. The response he receives is, “When you visited, you were a prospect. Now, you’re a customer.”
Don’t allow this to become you when you’re buying new ERP software. I saw a recent Web posting by a software demo person who stated that his job was to get the prospect to believe the software would do whatever they want it to do. Even if someone were inclined to approach things in this manner, there would be no value in doing so if that demo person’s employer offered its customers a software acceptance process.
I could cite numerous examples in which people have said they wished they had insisted on a software acceptance process with their vendors. Here’s one such example. Back in 2006 we participated in a software evaluation against a well-known ERP software vendor. The prospect had a consultant guide them through the process, did scripted demos, scored the demos, and saw things as too close to decide. Finally, the prospect selected the other solution. When they did so, we strongly recommended to the prospect and consultant that they insist on a software acceptance process to which their response was, “We don’t need that; we’ve seen the other software’s capabilities demonstrated.”
In following up with that consultant in January 2009, he stated his client regretted many times not going with us. They have been disappointed with the product they chose. There was functionality that was promised to them by the vendor that wasn’t there when they bought and still isn’t there.
There are numerous stories and reports showing that the percentage of failed ERP software implementations is too high. One root cause of this problem is that companies select the wrong software. If vendors offering a software acceptance process became the norm in the ERP software industry, the issue of selecting the wrong software could be minimized.
As part of “The TGI Difference,” TGI offers a risk free, money-back software acceptance period to all of its customers following contract signing and initial software installation. This period allows customers to validate their selection of TGI and Enterprise 21. We encourage all prospects to insist on a software acceptance process when buying new ERP software.
Tags: ERP Software