Business Vision (BV) and a supporting system Business Vision Essentials (BVE) have been used across small and medium sized businesses as their ERP for many years.
However, as of January 1, 2021, BV versions older than 7.8 will become static, read only databases, that are no longer functioning ERPs. This will also make Business Vision Essentials non-functioning as BVE depends on BV posts to function.
So now what?
1. Document your requirements
NOTE: It’s best to not start researching ERPs or watching demos yet, we often buy the first one we see but might not actually do what we fundamentally need it to.
- Requirements tend to come in three forms
- Business: the functionality needed in the system to support your business processes
- Technical: the security needs and integrations necessary between your ERP and other systems that share data and business processes
- Data and reporting: the questions you need answered with the help of data
- Document your requirements, share the full list with at least one person from each department
- Refine the requirements based on feedback
- For each requirement, define its criticality
- Critical: If it can’t do this we will not buy it, this is essential to our business
- High: This would be incredibly helpful and make us more effective and efficient but there are ways we can do this through business process if we must
- Nice to have: We can do without it but it would be awesome
2. Create demo scenarios
- Take a few of your critical and high requirements that speak to unique things about your business process
- Draft a storyline surrounding each requirement and how you would like the ERP to support it
- These scenarios can be shared in your Request for Proposal (RFP) or quote request to vendors and be used during the vendors demo. This way, during the demo, the vendor shows you how you would use the ERP for your business, not just the functionality they want to show you
3. Research ERPs
- There are loads of ERP options on the market and it’s a lot to sift through
- One way to start is by asking peers in your industry what they use, not your direct competitors necessarily, but those you’re connected to who serve other markets
- Below is a list or ERPs we’ve looked into in the past for small and medium businesses
4. Pick 2-3 that look like they meet all your Critical needs and most of your Highs
- A good place to start is looking on vendor websites for their functionality list, with this in hand you can often cull the list down
5. Reach out to your top vendors
- Let them know you are interested in learning more about the product and would like to share some details around your requirements and needs once a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is signed.
6. Have vendors sign an NDA
7. Share your requirements with the vendors and ask for a proposal or quote
8. Schedule demos with each vendor for them to show you your scenarios
9. Make a decision considering:
- Implementation cost
- Holding cost
- Integration costs
- Consulting services, if you don’t have project management skills in house
10. Negotiate and sign the contract
- Be mindful of how overages beyond the proposed cost will be handled
An ERP that aligns with your long-term needs.