The market for enterprise software is worth $128 billion (and growing). Deploying an enterprise software solution can be a process of trial and error, but before you make that leap, you need to know the basics. What business practice contributed most to Andrew Carnegie’s ability to form a monopoly? What is the difference between an SMB and enterprise? How do you measure the ROI of an enterprise software solution? What are Enterprise Resource Planning systems and why are they valuable to business? To avoid costly mistakes, you need to become a bit of an insider. Here’s a list of 10 things that every IT manager should know about enterprise software.
1. There is no universally-accepted definition for “enterprise.”
If you’re talking about technology leaders like IBM or Oracle, the answer is yes. If you’re talking about small to mid-sized businesses, however, the answer is no. It’s even harder if you’re talking about something bigger than that: Microsoft versus IBM or Oracle versus IBM or Oracle.
There is no universal definition of “enterprise.” There are many definitions, so in this article, “enterprise” will refer to large organizations (500 or more employees), as measured by Microsoft or IBM. In other articles, it may refer to mid-level organizations (501 – 1,000 employees). While some definitions of “enterprise” include government bodies and major educational institutions, they will not be included in this article.
2. Enterprise software isn’t the same thing as enterprise resource planning.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a term that refers to many different specific solutions. The problem is that there are many different types of ERP, nearly all of which vary. There is no template that can be used to determine the optimal ERP solution for your organization. A common wish list for a technical team includes transaction processing capabilities: CRUD-based data! In this case, “enterprise software” typically refers to enterprise transaction processing (ETP) systems. And as noted earlier in this article, there’s no universal definition for “enterprise.”
3. You need a comprehensive solution that is well integrated.
Since there is no universal definition for “enterprise,” you might consider buying a software application suite. Most software companies put together solutions that include all the features you need. However, if you don’t have all of those features in one place, it will be very difficult to find a solution to meet your needs.
4. You shouldn’t believe vendor claims about RFP success rates.
You shouldn’t believe vendors who claim that they permanently reduced their number of complaints by implementing their software system. Just because they use the same terms as your ERP vendor doesn’t mean they’ve fully replicated your ERP functionality (or even understand how it works).
You won’t find many references to vendor success rates. That’s because it’s hard to determine the true number, even though you should be looking at them. There are three key reasons why a company might decide not to use software with a certain feature:
5. Your organization may already have a system that has failed.
It doesn’t matter whether they failed because of poor design, poor implementation or no implementation at all – your organization may already have a software solution in place that has failed. In this case, you’ll have to find out what went wrong and why it wasn’t caught before the system was implemented, so you can avoid similar problems in the future.
6. You should look for a solution that has a long track record of successful implementations.
Just because the vendor promises that their new software system will help you to cut costs and increase revenue, it doesn’t mean that it will actually work as promised. You want to find out about the company’s past experiences with similar implementations. Does the company have a good track record? Have they provided documentation about how the software works? If you don’t have any documentation, then you probably can’t know whether or not their solution would have worked in your organization.
7. You should look for a vendor who has done extensive research on your industry if possible.
The software vendor should know your industry inside and out. They should be able to tell you about the problems and opportunities in your industry. If they can’t tell you about the problems, then you shouldn’t buy their software.
8. You should benchmark the software before you put it into production.
Before purchasing enterprise software, it’s best to find out what other companies are using in your industry and how they are using it. This can help you to avoid costly mistakes down the road when implementing a new system. It will also help you to avoid potential incompatibilities between different applications that are used in different industries (and also between different versions of an application).
9. The best way to determine if an application suite fits your needs is to run through a demo.
The most important thing you can do when conducting a demo is to ask questions. If the vendor doesn’t have questions for you, then you probably shouldn’t work with them. If they don’t ask questions about your organization, then they don’t care about getting your business. The best vendors will ask very detailed questions (including all of the points mentioned in this article) and act on their findings.
10. You should conduct at least three demos before making a final decision.
It’s important to conduct at least three demos before making a final decision on an application suite. It will give you a chance to get to know the different vendors, see the software in action and ask questions. You should conduct three or more demos with at least three different vendors. Every decision is a business decision. Making the wrong decision can lead to massive problems down the road when you have to implement a new system. Having made the wrong choice, you may find that your organization’s resources are stretched too thin .