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Identifying Reasons for ERP Change and The Sales Process

I am an SAP Business One Sales Consultant. In my role of identifying and mapping out prospective customers requirements I have made some key observations regarding reasons for change.

This blog looks at the two main reasons and some advice on how to handle them based on my own experiences in the field.  There are usually two main drivers for implementing a new ERP system:

1) The existing system is outdated, not supported anymore or simply not fit for purpose if a business has grown. It is lacking in functionality and users do not like interacting with it.

2) The business is looking at expanding and wants a platform for growth including introducing new technology like Mobility and Real Time Analytics. The system works well from a functional aspect and users have no problem with its operation.

Option 1 is for Operational reasons and Option 2 is for Strategic reasons. In the sales process it is important to ascertain the main driver for change early on as the key decision makers and influencers are different in each scenario.

In the first option the key influencers are likely to be the business users, they are the people interacting with the front end, raising Sales and Purchase Orders etc. If you can demonstrate to them a system that reduces their admin time and the need to re key data between disparate systems then you are going to get buy in from them. The business owners and ultimate decision makers will be massively influenced by the workforce and if a ROI can be demonstrated in terms of saved time you should have buy from them as well.

With an ERP Project initiated for Strategic reasons the influencers are the Senior Managers and Board Members. The sales pitch is more aspirational, demonstrating where they can get to over time by taking on the new technologies. In this type of sale is it important to define the key features in the product and explain ROI if these feature are adopted. Even though the key decision makers and influencers are going to buy in to the solution it is important to not forget the business user. From a business point of view the Change Management needs to start during the sales cycle, run separate functional demonstrations for the business users and explain how you will train them and make sure the transition is smooth. From an administrative users point of view they may be happy with their current system and see a new system as a threat to their roles or be under the impression their daily tasks are going to get harder. These objections need to be addressed early on.

In both scenario’s it is vital to understand the reasons for change, identify the key influencers & decision makers and demonstrate back to them the elements of the software that meet their current requirements.

Never underestimate the importance of getting the administrative business users on side whatever the business reasons for change, they can be more influential than you think!

10 Comments
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  • hallo tim,

    can u tell me how to create buisness partner code and item

    code series automatically.

    best regards

    manish

      • hallo-thanks for the response and I'm new SAP B1 consultant and ryte now i am on my first project so client daily demands for new requirments.plz intimate me if you got any answer abt that.

        best regards

        manish

      • Hi,thanks for the help,i've one more problem.i have made a query for automatically creation of item code in item name field but it didn't work.can u help me that it is right or wrong.query that i've made is below.

        SELECT       substring ((MAX(T0.ItemCode)), 0,4)+cast ((Substring ((MAX(T0.ItemCode)),4,4)+1) AS varchar(20))

        FROM    OITM T0

        WHERET0.ItmsGrpCod = $[OITM.ItmsGrpCod]

        whenever i execute this query i get an error like this:-  1). [Microsoft][SQL Native Client][SQL Server]Incorrect syntax near the keyword 'SELECT'. 2). [Microsoft][SQL Native Client][SQL Server]Incorrect syntax near 'OITM.ItmsGrpCod'. 3). [Microsoft][SQL Native Client][SQL Server]Statement 'Service Contracts' (OCTR) (s) could not be prepared.

        so how could i genrate item code automatically and what is the solution of above error,plz tell me asap.i'll wait for ur reply

        .

        thank  you!

        best regards

        manish

  • Hey Tim,

    I read this one twice.   I know the reasons for change.  And actually I can add a few more:

    - A new top management group that wants there system from their "old" company.

    - Driven by the customers that the company interacts with.  (What software are they on?  What are they used to seeing?  What are their requirements?)

    But...   what interests me in this blog is yes, it is vital to understand the reasons for change, but what about how to overcome resistance once you determine the reason for change.

    Do you have any tips?

    Thank you!

    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for the comment. In answer to your question, there are a number of ways to overcome resistance depending on who you are dealing with and the nature of resistance

      With administrative staff, once you have understood their reasons it usually helps to find any limitations in the current system and explain how much quicker and simpler it would be in SAP with a relevant on site meeting, WebEx or screen shots. It could be that they are re keying data between disparate systems, unable to run various finance reports or even basic stuff like only 1 person can be in a customer maser data at one time.

      With more senior people they may be worried about disruption to the business, longevity of the system or problems at Go Live. With this again it is about countering their concerns with success stories about other implementations, explaining the SAP product roadmap or talking through your implementation methodology to gain trust.

      With any objection / resistance it is important to be consultative rather than pushy to earn their trust as an advisor not a sales person.

      Let me know if you need anything else, you can always email me.