In searching for an ERP system, Abilene learned to challenge its vendors

When Abilene, Texas, was searching for a vendor to upgrade its financial and human resources management systems, the city first identified what it needed and then demanded it from its vendor.

The responsibility to find the right solution rests with both parties, said Ronnie Kidd, the city’s managing director for administration.

“We tried to do a considerable amount of due diligence upfront,” Kidd said. “It’s important to take the time at the beginning of the search to identify what your needs are and what you want to end up with.”

At the same time, he said, “it’s also important to challenge the vendors to make sure they can meet your needs.”

One of the primary reasons Abilene chose Lawson Software to provide an integrated suite of enterprise resource management tools was the company’s willingness to work with the city to meet its needs and accommodate an aggressive schedule for implementing a human resources and payroll system.

“Lawson actually enhanced their product to meet our needs,” Kidd said. “That was a win-win. I think it made the product better and it met our needs.”

The city also committed itself to making the transition work, dedicating IT and human resources teams to the process of implementing a new system as the existing system approached its end of life. “You’ve got to keep your eyes wide open and enter the process knowing that it is a complex and complicated thing,” Kidd said.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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