ERP Evaluation Best Practice: Know Your Demo Options

ERP demonstrations are your best friend when in the midst of an ERP evaluation, but it’s important to make sure you’re aware of the different ways you can go about a demo and how to get the most out of the process. Here are 3 common demo formats and what each of them offers so you can get the most out of your demo, allowing you to choose the system that is best for you in the end.

The Video Presentation: These are usually short clips of specific parts of the software that your vendor can send to you or post on YouTube. While you do lose the interactive part of the demo and are unable to access the data or explore the UI, these video demonstrations do have a few benefits:

  • They will be broken into sections based on capability so you can pick and choose which ones you want to watch.
  • This also allows you to take your time and evaluate each clip at your own pace and on your own schedule.
  • In some cases you may be able to find these videos on your vendors website or online and will not need to even engage a vendor if you are still in the earliest phases of your ERP evaluation. If you like what you see, you can get in touch to set up a more in-depth demo.

The Trial: You may be able to download a free trial and take yourself on a self-guided tour of the software. This type of self-guided demo is rarely an option once you begin looking at anything above an entry-level application. Keep in mind you will likely need to get in touch with a vendor to gain access to the trail and may be stuck with the  “dummy data” which has been preloaded into the trial; it is also likely that you will be limited in terms functionality. Despite all of that, this type of demo does have benefits:

  • You can focus on your specific interests and click around to your heart’s desire.
  • Some software demos will allow you to upload your own data to get the full experience.
  • You can get a real understanding of the look and feel of the system and how it works.

The Vendor Guided Demo: This is by far the most popular type of demo and the most complete and interactive format as it allows you full access to the vendor and the software at the same time, something the other formats do not offer. You may choose to do this demo online or the ERP vendor will visit you to do an on-site demo. Once your vendor understands your operations, what you want to see, and what you need out of the software, they can walk you through a demonstration of how the system will meet those needs.

This type of demonstration is usually reserved for the final step in your ERP evaluation process before making your final system selection. These demo’s can be long and are packed with information, so make sure you are prepared and take lots of notes. Read this blog to help you get the most out of your vendor guided demo.

Each of these formats offers something different, and it is up to you to make a choice. Do you go with the video clips, the trial, or the full vendor guided demo? Many times a combination of these is the best bet; it’s a big decision, so utilizing every resource to help you during your evaluation is perfectly acceptable! In fact, many companies mistakenly rush the process and end up with the wrong system; avoid such mistake by downloading our white paper, “6 Mistakes You’ll Make When Selecting your ERP System.

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