• evaluate company culture when purchasing ERP

Company culture is the set of values and practices shared by a company’s employees, which influences employee interaction, a company’s work environment, work expectations, future growth and strategic plans. This in turn affects employee behavior, physical company infrastructure and design, technology use, working hours, hiring policies and much more. Company culture is important because it directly impacts the success of a company. Companies with an adaptive culture aligned to business goals regularly outperform their competitors. Company culture is important as it not only affects the people you hire, but also influences the partnerships you develop. This is why culture should play a role in your decision-making process for purchasing new ERP software, and deciding which vendor you want to work with. A good software vendor will also consider company culture when selling their product as it can greatly impact the implementation process, training, success of the project and future communication. To aid in finding the best software vendor for your company, consider the following areas of company culture and how they can impact the decision.

Company Growth

If you’re a growing company looking to implement new ERP software, it is important that your software vendor is also growing and continuously looking to improve and expand upon their product offering. Ask if the company has released any new technologies in the past year and what their development team is currently working on. Determine whether or not they have experience working with similar companies and get a feel for how many users the system can support. You will want to work with a vendor who will be able to manage your projected growth and who has helped other companies grow their business as well. Another important factor to consider is how often the vendor provides software upgrades with new features, and whether or not this comes at an additional charge (including for installation).

For those companies who are not experiencing growth, it is also important to assess the software vendor in this regard. Will the version you purchase still be supported in two years? Do you have to continuously pay for upgrades if you don’t want to? Does the vendor understand your position and are they willing to still put the same amount of time and effort into supporting you as a customer?

Note: Software vendors are also interested in whether or not a company is looking to and actively growing, and will use this as an important indicator as to what type of customer they will be. For those who are looking to grow, working with them will provide opportunities for discussion surrounding new features, trends in the industry and functionality opportunities. This opens up the door for a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.

People

The employees at a company and how they interact help shape company culture. This includes how employees are treated, how management interacts with other employees, employee hierarchy, compensation and more. Consider a vendor that fosters a team player environment, and where different departments work together on a regular basis. This type of culture encourages all employees to have a stake in each individual customer and sale, which improves customer service. Look for sales people who are honest and open, and willing to say no when they don’t think they can manage all your needs. Working with vendors who have a similar company culture to your business will lead to better relationships – as a small company consider also working with a small vendor and vice versa. Stay away from companies whose culture only influences the growth of sales dollars and not relationships.

After Sale Support

Does the company provide personalized support? Will you ever speak with the sales rep who originally sold you the product ever again? What sort of after-sale support benefits are offered? These types of questions will give you better insights into how the company treats their customers and the company culture that influences sales. Does the software vendor encourage quick sales in order to meet quotas, or are they looking to develop relationships and choose customers with whom they can continue to work with? A company culture that is surrounded by sales numbers and dollar figures will most likely result in your company being left behind to fend for yourself. A company culture that influences regular interaction between all levels of management can often mean issues are resolved quicker as employees are better able to seek help from other departments and their superiors. Speaking with current customers will help you gauge whether or not this is true, and vendors that are willing to provide multiple references are usually the better option.

6 Factors for Evaluating ERP Vendors