A client recently mentioned that company “‘A,” with sales of some $400 million, had been forced to sell because it had to operate its business manually for several weeks after switching over to a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. During those weeks it took so long to answer customers’ questions (price and availability, order status, etc.), take orders, fill orders, handle returns, etc., that the company lost a very large customer. That loss resulted in a technical default on their largest loan agreement, and the bank refused to modify the terms. When my client mentioned the name of the ERP system, it rang a bell - I had recently seen it on one of those lists of software packages supposedly meant for distributors.
This article describes some important system selection considerations that are not addressed in lists of software.