Finding the Right ERP Software for Your Organization

Companies will find over time that they need to upgrade their ERP. Before making a purchase, many companies choose to send out an ERP RFP or enterprise resource planning request for proposal. Doing so allows them to gather information on potential vendors and narrow the options to two or three programs. They then put these programs through a test run to ensure the program will meet the company’s needs. 

Each company comes with its requirements for the program. This must be considered during the decision-making process, and the details on ERP requirements template play a role in whether this process is a success or failure. 

Sadly, 60 percent of ERP projects fail. Using the correct RFP helps to prevent this from happening. When using the right RFP, companies find they get responses of better quality. What should the company look for when determining which RFP to use? 

What is an RFP and When Should It Be Used? 

If the company is using its first RFP, the three-letter acronyms used in the industry may overwhelm them. In fact, a company might choose to engage a procurement resource to ease the process. However, understanding the distinction between an RFP, RFI, and RFQ remains essential. All three options serve as requests that can help with the decision-making process. 

A request for information or RFI provides a way for the company to reach out to multiple vendors and receive broad information about their company and offerings. The RFI provides a good starting point for the ERP search and allows the company to narrow the choices. 

The request for proposal or RFP allows the company to probe deeper and learn more about the options remaining on its list. This RFP provides vendors with detailed requirements for the ERP along with expectations. When reviewing responses to the RFP, look for those that show they understand what the company needs while providing more detail regarding the essential requirements and their experience with them. 

A request for quote or RFQ is used when more information is needed from a select number of vendors. This request calls for a detailed proposal from the vendor that includes full costs, payment terms, and more. 

Knowing the ERP Requirements

Before a company begins creating the ERP RFP, it must know the requirements. This is where the template becomes of great help. List the business processes currently in place and determine where changes are needed. The company must determine how it will measure the changes, and they must be realistic ones.

Furthermore, it’s beneficial to list the benefits that are expected because of the changes. Attempt to choose benefits with a monetary value. A failure to take these steps could lead to wasted money and operational inefficiency once the ERP is implemented. What should be considered during this portion of the process? 

The Business Strategy

Business owners often get caught up in the features offered by different ERP systems. Don’t make this mistake. Review the company’s business objectives and use this information as a starting point. What is holding the business back? 

Some companies find they need to improve customer retention rates. Others struggle with unchecked supply chain risks. These serve as only two examples of issues holding businesses back today, and the right ERP can help resolve them. For this reason, it’s essential companies make the business strategy the focal point when selecting an ERP. 

Surveys

Speak with staff members to learn what customer and supplier requirements aren’t being met. Prioritize these requirements and determine how ERP software can meet these needs. The template makes this process easier, although measurable goals are needed to track success. 

Come to an Agreement

Meet with stakeholders to finalize the requirements and come to an agreement on them. This includes representatives from HR, marketing, and sales, among others. Excluding a keyholder can lead to missed opportunities and the purchase of an ERP that doesn’t meet all needs of the company. 

Structuring the RFP 

In addition to the information gathered regarding company requirements, the business must provide a breakdown of the company’s current software and hardware for each vendor. Provide information about maintenance support and internal implementation as well. This helps the vendors provide accurate information. 

Share information about the anticipated timescale, what problems the ERP is expected to resolve, and a deadline for responding. Vendors find it helpful help when companies share information about the business needs, operations, and pain-points. In addition, ERP ambitions should be provided as part of this document, as this information provides context for the requirements. With this information, vendors might find they can provide solutions and benefits that would otherwise be overlooked. 

Choosing the Right ERP RFP Template

When a company uses an ERP RFP template, they find it easier to compare proposal documents. While some vendors might have the right ERP from the start, others may need to customize their programs to meet the needs of the customer. The company must determine which vendors can meet their timelines. At the same time, the template provides vendors with the company’s requirements, and contacts in addition to the timelines. 

The business should provide an overview of the organization and how it operates. Share information about the projected number of users, how many satellite offices the organization has, and anticipated growth. Furthermore, let the vendors know the objectives of system users with regard to the program. 

The template must provide information about the duties of the provider and the anticipated outcomes. This includes a detailed list of the provider’s responsibilities, which is of great importance when subcontractors are used. This document also needs to give a detailed project timeline that starts with the RFP send-out and concludes when the ERP goes live. Finally, share the project budget in this document with a complete breakdown of the costs. 

The Requirements List

When creating the requirements list, include both functional requirements and technical specs. Break them down by business unit, allowing space for the vendor to explain how their ERP meets each requirement. Ask if the solution is customized or available out of the box. 

Qualifications and References

Allow space for the vendor to share information about similar projects it has undertaken. Here, they can also provide information about accreditations and awards or other honors that show their ERP is a good fit for the company. Ask how long they have been in business to ensure stability before purchasing their ERP. 

Additional Information

The template should allow the collection of additional information. The budget should provide a cost breakdown for a minimum of three years into the future and a valid end date from the date the response is received. The terms and conditions must be known, and the company should share how they will go about selecting a vendor. Finally, include information about who the vendor should contact if more information is needed regarding the RFP. 

Choosing an ERP shouldn’t be a quick and easy process. Take time to ensure the right system is selected. The use of a template makes the process easier, so make certain you use the right one. With many forms to select from, doing so won’t be difficult. 

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