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PoC and why you need them to pick the right ERP solution

By Loic Pelletier, 12:30 PM on May 22, 2018

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When choosing an ERP solution, there comes a time to see if the software meets your requirements. And to do this you need a proof of concept, or PoC. Send your shortlisted vendors/integration specialists a test scenario and let them show you what their tools can do. You want proof, not just promises.

Is the software any good? Seeing is believing

Comparing tools is a critical step in your decision-making process. You're picking ERP software that will shape your company’s day-to-day work, take root in every department and become a key tool for every member of staff. How can you be sure you're making the right choice? This is why you need a test case. When? Between seeing the demos and making your final decision.

During the first demo, the vendor shows you everything the solution has to offer. It's a first look, like the trailer for a film. You get an overview, the outline of the plot, a teaser. A PoC helps you see if the software lives up these expectations.

So, when you're buying ERP software, you can use PoC to see the solution in action and check how it responds to the hypothetical situation (the scenario) you sent the editor.

Make it a level playing field

No matter what the product or service is, any salesperson is going to be 100% certain that they have THE solution for you. And to convince you, they'll use their secret weapon: a fancy PowerPoint presentation. But well-rehearsed sales patter and endless bullet points are not always a match for critical cross-examination.

Enter the PoC. In that kind of test case, each prospective vendor has to prove that their software responds to the scenario and that its features suit your needs. This will give you proof that the ERP solution meets your scenario's criteria. You'll also have a yardstick to measure all the solutions against, which will help you pick the best one for you.

So, it's out with the sales pitch, fancy graphics and fast talk. A tailored demo is the only proof you want, and it's also a great way to compare software.

Get your team onboard now

After key staff (the CEO, the head of admin and finance, the CFO, the sales manager, etc.) have drawn up a shortlist, use the test case to involve other colleagues in the decision-making process.

Ordinarily, when new software is being rolled out, staff hear about it but never actually see it, and they can only try it out once it's been set up. But ERP implementation affects all staff: it will have the biggest impact on them because they'll use the new tool every day. Simply asking them to be involved in the test case will help to get them onboard and side-step any problems once the tool is up and running. Besides, it's harder to talk down a decision when you're involved.

Another plus point is that the staff around the table during the second demo will have a fresh perspective on how the ERP solution works. A junior consultant will approach it differently from a CFO. Future users will look at how ergonomic and intuitive the software is and how it looks where the CEO or CDO would perhaps focus only on the functionalities. It takes all sorts, so the more eyes, the better. Making the right choice also means keeping as many people as possible happy.

During ERP demos, it pays to be a doubting Thomas. Seeing really is believing. Ask your prospective software publishers to run PoC to show you that their solution fulfils all the requirements in your test scenario. Remember: your company will use the software you pick for the next 5, 10 or even 15 years. So, choose very carefully and make sure your ERP solution does everything you need it to. Then you’ll have a cast-iron (test) case!

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