How to Prepare for your ERP Demo
After countless hours searching for prospective ERP solutions, you’ve finally landed on a few you’d like to demo. So what comes next? When making a decision of this magnitude, you definitely want to be properly prepared for your upcoming demo. Here are a few things to keep in mind for the big day.
Prepare your employees
Surf the web.
To get your employees on board with the demo process, have them spend some time with the vendor’s website to get a feel for how the product works. Once they’re familiar with a few of the basic concepts and functionality, have them put together some questions regarding what they’d like to know more about. If these questions aren’t answered over the course of the demo, they’ll be able to ask the demonstrator after the presentation, or when time allows.
Map out “needs” and “wants.”
This is a big one. When deciding which ERP platform to use, it’s a must to know what functionality you simply can’t live without, and what you’d like to have but maybe don’t need right now. Check with your team on the functionality that they have to have, as well as pieces that would make life easier but maybe aren’t dealbreakers.
It can be helpful during a demo to keep a checklist of needs and wants close by. Each time one is covered, check it off. At the end of the demo, take note of how many needs were addressed, and of how many wants made the cut. The more needs met, the better, and if you’ve got several of the wants taken care of too, you’ve likely found yourself an excellent candidate for your next ERP.
If, however, the demo falls short of meeting your list of needs, clarify functionality with the vendor, and if it still ends up lacking, it’s time to keep looking.
When making such a vital decision for the future of your company, it’s a no-brainer that you and your team have to be attentive during the entire demo. Have team members take notes of functionality that appears to be an improvement over their current situation, and mark any functionality that might not measure up to the standards you need — a task such as this will guarantee that they are paying attention during the demo instead of catching up on email or some other activity.
Going into the demo with the proper expectations of your team members will be a huge help in ensuring they’re attentive. This process isn’t just for your benefit, it’s for their benefit, and the benefit of the company too.
Prepare the Vendor
Stick to the script.
To help the vendor give you the best demo possible, it’s a great idea to give them a “script” of what your typical day looks like. You want this demo to be catered to your company, and what better way to do this than giving the vendor a clear picture of what your company does each day (or maybe wants to do each day)?
Make sure to include a section in your script that allows employees to see data move from the beginning to the end of a process. For example, if part of your demo time is reserved for showing the creation of an order, employees may want to see how the order is entered, how it gets fulfilled and shipped if items on the order are currently out of stock, and what it looks like when the invoice is created.
While all of your employees may not be involved at each step of each process shown during a demo, it’s still helpful for them to see how the information flows from one stage to another, and it gives employees a glimpse of the bigger picture. If it’s difficult to keep track of this information from one stage to the next, it could be a sign that this might not be the ERP solution you’re looking for.
Prepare your questions.
Providing a list of questions in advance of the scheduled demo will be a big help in getting the most out of the presentation, and be sure to reserve the right to ask questions during the demo too. You’ll also want to take detailed notes to effectively evaluate the differences among vendors without confusing each software’s functionality and uniqueness.
It’s demo time!
It takes a lot of preparation to get ready for a demo, but the work is well worth the effort once you find the right ERP system, and this isn’t an area where you want to take a gamble. Being properly prepared for your demo will pay off big time; not only will you avoid committing to an ERP that just doesn’t cut it, but you’ll find the perfect solution that fits your needs, and that even fulfills some of your organization’s wants.
Once you’ve got everything prepared, it’s time to get the demo on the calendar. And when you’re ready to reach out and schedule with your prospective vendors, don’t forget to add us to the list! We’ve got the demo experience to make this stage of your search a success, and would love to help you find the right solution!