Carlyle Group ultimately selected Dell Services to host its ERP solutions. Dell Services now provides hardware, data-center hosting, IT services management and ERP application management to The Carlyle Group. The first phase of the project, the deployment modules including general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and cash management, launched on-schedule on January 1. Additional capabilities will be added in future phases, Roth says.
Meeting that deadline was a key factor in choosing a hosted solution, according to Roth. "To bring all the expertise on board that would be required, to build that environment and maintain it, we thought would take awhile," says Roth. "It would also require us to significantly increase the size of our staff." That would have meant adding at least six or seven staff members to his global team of 60 in order to provide the 24/7 coverage that a hosted provider with global operations like Dell can supply. Roth declines to provide specific financial details about the anticipated savings and return on investment.
For other CIOs looking to outsource hosted ERP systems, Roth has some advice.
The cheapest solution may not be the one that meets your needs. Evaluate your options. "Price was important and we were surprised at how much variation there was in the price that was presented to us by the five or six vendors that we invited. Dell was not necessarily the cheapest, but they were on the cheaper end. There were some vendors that were significantly higher," he says.
- Look for a vendor that pays attention to detail and is willing to work with you and answer your questions at every step along the way. "We put together an RFP with lots of specific questions and were looking for fairly detailed answers and Dell was very careful to answer the questions in the RFP. They were very responsive. Some of the other vendors were very unresponsive... and didn't answer the questions adequately," Roth says.
- Evaluate the experiences of existing customers."We spent a lot of time talking to existing customers and got very enthusiastic input from existing Dell customers who found that the team that had been assigned to them by dell was very responsive, took a lot of pride in the account and worked with them very closely. We did not get that same enthusiasm or comfort level in talking to some of the other references presented by some of the other vendors."
So far, Roth says, there have been a handful of post-production challenges and glitches in the system. Going forward, as the Carlyle Group adds PeopleSoft functionality and deploys Hyperion, set for the end of Q1 2011, performance will be key.