I have compiled information on some enterprise software packages which
I believe to be well-suited solutions given the information you have
provided regarding your company and what you are looking to achieve.
I have also outlined a methodology for looking at products critically
and determining how well they suit your business. This is intended to
be a starting point which you can expand upon when going through your
actual selection process. This is where the assistance of external
consultants can be valuable ? they should be able to come into your
company and perform interviews with staff to pull out red herrings.
The first stage of the analysis is to compile a set of selection
criteria, which will be used to compare alternatives against one
another. Each alternative will eventually be ranked against each
selective criterion using a numeric value (between 1 and 5). The
highest value indicates that the alternative fully satisfies the
specified criterion. Using these values, each alternative will be
given a score (the sum of the values for the given alternative). The
alternatives can then be ranked by score in descending order. Note
that there will be some criteria for which scores cannot be obtained
at this point due to lack of information, but these can be
incorporated at a later point if desired.
It should also be mentioned that it is more valuable to have 5-7
criteria that have a wide reach rather than 30-40 criteria that call
out very granular requirements. Take the time to consolidate you
criteria if you do end up with a sizeable number.
The next step will be to perform research and identify a set of
enterprise solutions (the alternatives). This will be done using a
combination my own personal experience and Internet research. A basic
overview of each option, obtained through public sources, will
highlight product features and factors that differentiate a given
product from its competitors.
Finally, each product should be evaluated against the selection
criteria and assigned an overall score. The products with the highest
scores will have the greatest likelihood of fitting with your
Note that such a process should be undertaken at a much greater level
of depth, with far more specific criteria. Vendors should be called
upon to demonstrate or explain how their product(s) satisfy specific
criteria and requirements. This will ensure that all stakeholders of
your project will be satisfied with the ultimate selection.
1. Initial Cost Outlay ? to be honest, most choices often come down to
this. It should be a factor, but not necessarily THE factor. Rather
then specifying a dollar figure, I would be more inclined to use a
metric that reflects true value.
2. Degree of Modularity ? considering the desire to start fresh in
terms of software, this one is key to implementation. Products that
cannot be built upon one module at a time will cause severe problems,
such as data integration and downtime complexities.
3. Flexible to Organizational Direction ? the ability of a system to
be reconfigured or redeployed in a new external environment. This
could include operations in a new country (think currencies,
languages, time zones), as well as corporate structures (public vs.
private, reporting requirements, etc.)
4. Functional Completeness ? for every system you are looking to
replace, is there module or modules that can be a sufficient
5. Ease of use ? you came up with this one yourself, and it is
critical. With moderate training, is this a system that your company
can easily learn, accept, and become proficient with?
6. Performance ? a technical criterion that looks at potential
bottlenecks and considers how the system is likely reacts. Issues to
consider here are concurrent users, peak times, minimum levels of
service (response time), and so forth.
7. Ability to leverage existing resources ? this includes technical
personnel, facilities (ie. data center), and hardware.
This is likely to get you thinking about other criteria, and it
should. This is by no means fully-formed, however as you see you
revised list getting lengthy, evaluation will prove simpler if similar
and related items are consolidated.
This section is meant to act as a short-list of vendor products that
could be appropriate. What this essentially means is that from the
surface, their software has been presented as capable of solving many
of the issues you have listed as reasons for wanting a new enterprise
solution. At this point, no deep analysis has been done on any of the
products in this list. To draw a parallel to the process of hiring a
new employee, the alternatives in this list are much like the people
you have called in for a first interview.
That being said, here are a few packages I feel are worthy of a
1. Company: SAP
Product: mySAP All-In-One
Solution Brief: http://www.sap.com/solutions/sme/pdf/BWP_A1_Solution_Brief.pdf
2. Company: Oracle
Product: Peoplesoft Enterprise Applications
Web (product home):
Web (Supply Chain home):
3. Company: Oracle
Product: JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
Web (product home):
4. Company: Microsoft
Products: Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV
Web (Dynamics for manufacturing):
Web (AX for manufacturing):
Web (NAV for manufacturing):
If you are interested in a more exhaustive list of enterprise solution
vendors, here is one that includes company and website links. Note
that many of these companies don?t fit well with your exact scenario,
but they are part of the same space in the software industry:
In addition, I believe this link effectively touches on how to use
vendor presentations (which you will ultimately endure) in your
favour, rather than letting them become sales pitches that don?t
address your specific needs:
I hope the above information has provided you with a starting point in
the selection process of an enterprise software solution. Although
there is considerable work ahead in making a final selection,
utilizing a well-defined evaluative process is always a good start.
If you have any comments or are unclear on any of the information
above, please do post a clarification and I will respond promptly.
Thank you for using Google Answers :)