All washed up on the face of it is a strange title for a blog, but stick with it!

The analogy of doing your laundry may seem tenuous, but actually, it’s just one of many choices we’re faced with in our modern lives. This month, Paul Ridsdale-Smith looks at how too much choice is not always an easy thing to navigate.


How do you react to an excess of choice?

Are you blinded into inaction? When there are seemingly too many options, how do you move forward? Choose one and hope for the best? Leave your selection to fate, to destiny, or in the lap of the gods?

I am not known for my proficiency with the washing machine in our house, and can certainly relate to the stereotypical student who brings their washing home whenever possible. I like the fact that our machine has a general “if in doubt, use this” low temperature/mixed setting, and I like even more that my wife knows the washing powder to get (I assume, or perhaps she guesses as well? I’ve never asked).

Wikipedia (other information sources are available) reckons that there are 50 “notable” proprietary ERP systems, or even more options if you consider that many ERP systems are sold via a range of different partners. There is no wonder that making the decision to choose a new ERP can feel overwhelming!


So, how do you select from that choice?

Most businesses only need one system. A number of approaches are possible:

  1. Read the articles and reviews, dig out the relevant Gartner quadrant, look at the vendors’ websites, and contact the sales team of a couple of chosen possibilities. Have a demo, ask a few challenging questions and be reassured by what you’re shown: the brilliant graphical functionality and the apparent simplicity with which the system is set up. You could also add certainty to your selection by asking a few of your colleagues to give you their views as well.
  2. Go to Vendor A or B because you’ve used their system before at your previous job, and they were fine. After all, it’s more important to run the business than to worry about the nuances of selecting a piece of software.
  3. Go to as many of the providers as possible and ask them to come in and demo to you. You need to be sure that you haven’t ignored that gem-of-a-system that fits your business like your favourite jumper.

Options 1 and 3 are time-consuming and risky.

Let’s be honest; you will be sold to.

No vendor will tell you about the weaknesses or challenges of their system, and it will probably come down to ‘gut feel’.

And Option 2 is simply risky. To stretch my analogy further, if your organisation washes specialist woollens, you don’t want to end up with a powder designed for non-fast coloureds or (worse) high-temperature white bedlinen!

So, without taking the time to understand the nuances of each system and how they may or may not fit your organisation, you risk missing out on market-leading functionality or even something that ends up “shrinking your woollens”!


So, what the heck do you do to choose?

There is another option – find yourself an expert.

I’m at risk of trivialising this. This is not a £5 investment to keep your clothes clean. This is likely at least a five or six-figure commitment that should last your organisation for the next decade or so. Companies have been made or broken by their ERP selection, and, even if they haven’t, each has committed significant amounts of people, money and time to their system implementation and use. So it is vital that you should take it seriously, consider the options carefully and get the best advice you can.

Gradient Transforming deal with a broad range of ERP vendors regularly. We are able, after time spent understanding your business, to match you to a number of likely candidate systems (short-cutting the approaches of Options 1 and 3), and to introduce you to partners we’ve worked with before to give you the best demos and talk realistically about how their system would fit to your business. The significant risk of Option 2 is negated, and you can be sure that you will end up with a solution that you will be glad will be with your business for the next decade or so. And, if you’re wondering whether we will only use a chosen few vendors, then be aware that, of the last 50 selection processes we’ve run, the client has ended up with one of 25 different systems. So it is far from a done deal before you start with us.

Get us on board, and your decision will be simpler, and you can be reassured your woollens won’t shrink!

If you want to have a chat, then contact us or call us on 01282 463710 to see how we can help you with either System Selection or reviewing what you already have with a Business Systems Health Check.