Creating an RFP for Your ERP System: A Primer

What is one of the most crucial parts of the ERP system purchase process? It might surprise you, but it’s actually creating the RFP. The RFP is a critical document. If you don’t get it right, you could wind up with an ERP system that doesn’t meet your needs.

Read on to learn what you should do when creating an RFP for your ERP system and what mistakes to avoid so you don’t waste time or money, and you purchase the right ERP solution.

What Are Your Requirements?

Before you even sit down to draft the RFP, you absolutely must possess a thorough understanding of your requirements. Your requirements are essentially what you need the ERP system to do so that you can obtain the maximum value from it.

Why is understanding your requirements so important? If you don’t know what you need, you can’t communicate it to vendors. And they can’t supply it to you, so you’ll wind up with something that won’t help you accomplish your goals.

Look at the Big Picture

Your ERP system isn’t going to be used by just one department. So, don’t write it from the perspective of just one department.

When you’re creating the RFP, you must take each department into account. That means you must possess a thorough understanding of how they do business and what they need to do to work more efficiently. And the RFP can’t just focus on what your business looks like now – make sure that the document includes where you’d like the business to be. The vendor can use that information to provide a solution that will help you reach that target.

Moreover, don’t just look at the solution itself – think about everything each department needs for the implementation to be successful. What kind of software makes the most sense? What kind of support options will you need? How much training will end-users need so that they can derive value from the ERP system?

Remember, You’re in Charge

When you’re creating an RFP, you set the rules as to how vendors submit their proposals. You don’t want to receive proposals in varying formats or at different stages.

When you set the rules about proposal submission, you put yourself in control of the process. Putting yourself in control of the process sends the message that you’re serious about purchasing an ERP system. That makes vendors take notice, and they’ll submit stronger proposals as a result.

It’s tempting to rush through the RFP process – you just want to get it over with and put the ERP system in place already. However, that’s a temptation to which you shouldn’t give in. The RFP is a vital process in the ERP purchase process; it tells vendors what you want and how they can best meet your needs. If you don’t create a comprehensive RFP, you’re not going to get high quality proposals that will lead you to the right ERP system. Invest time and effort into the RFP creation process for the best results.

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