The RFP for your ERP system might not seem like it’s important. In fact, you might be tempted not to invest much time or effort into it – you just want to get the process over with, start using your ERP system, and become more efficient and agile. That would be a mistake.
You want the best RFP possible, because your RFP provides vital guidance for your vendors. To write the best RFP possible, you need to follow a set of best practices to achieve success. Read on to learn what these best practices are so you can incorporate them into your RFP.
There’s a difference between your requirements (what you need the ERP system to do) and why you need an ERP system in the first place. Many companies confuse these two points, but that can muddy the waters for vendors.
Why is this distinction important? If you want an ERP system because you want to work more efficiently or because you believe it will open up new market opportunities, vendors need to know that. They’ll be able to offer you a solution that will better fit your needs, and they’ll be able to tailor any professional services such as training and support.
Your RFP is your best opportunity to explain to vendors exactly what you need out of your ERP system. If you don’t take advantage of this chance, you’ll wind up with the wrong ERP system.
“A thorough understanding of your needs” means that you must know what departments will be using the ERP system. You must also know what tasks they will use it for, their processes, and what their goals are. Moreover, what training will they need? It’s also important that you understand what your future needs will be, so that the ERP system can grow with you.
The RFP for your ERP system should also discuss any legacy infrastructure you have in place. While a new ERP system presents an opportunity to move on from such infrastructure, certain departments still depend upon it. Make that clear within the RFP so vendors understand what matters most to you.
Your RFP is also a chance to communicate your corporate culture. “Do vendors really care about my corporate culture?” you ask. The answer is, “yes.”
The culture at your organization shapes your processes. If a particular process is anathema to your company, a feature that removes the need for it would be welcome.
Your customers are also a part of your corporate culture, so don’t forget about them. They are the ones who buy your products and services, and who will ultimately benefit from the efficiency and agility that an ERP system will bring to your business.
Think of your RFP as a recipe for the best possible ERP system. You want to include every ingredient necessary. The right ingredients yield optimal results for your firm.