What is the one thing you need to do before you submit your RFP for an ERP system? Some people might say, “Finding a person to write the RFP,” or “Setting a deadline for when it has to be completed.” Those things are important, but they can be figured out along the way. When it comes to writing an RFP for an ERP system, there’s one thing that’s absolutely crucial: setting internal requirements for what you want and need out of an ERP system.
Read on to learn why setting internal requirements is so vital, and why you can’t submit an RFP without this step.
In order to understand why requirement setting is crucial for your RFP process, let’s take a moment to go over what we mean by the word “requirements.”
Essentially, your requirements for your ERP system are what you want and need it to do. For example, if you’re in the food or beverage industry, you need your ERP system to provide transparency into your manufacturing processes so that if there’s a recall, you can easily trace the batch or ingredients.
So, why does requirement setting crucial when writing an RFP? Shouldn’t it be completely clear to the vendors looking at this RFP what you need from your ERP system?
The answer is a resounding “no.” Vendors aren’t mind-readers. They don’t know exactly what you’re looking for in an ERP system. If you’re not clear on what you need your ERP system to do, vendors can’t supply you with the perfect solution.
Setting requirements is about more than just thinking what you need and what you want the ERP system to do at this point in time. There are a number of considerations that go into requirement setting.
You should take into account what your future needs will be when thinking about your ERP requirements; you don’t want to invest in a system only to discover a few years down the road that it isn’t scalable or that doesn’t have features that it turns out will be useful in light of changing conditions.
Moreover, your requirements should also be based upon your corporate culture. What processes or characteristics are so ingrained within your corporate culture that ignoring them would lead to the failure of your ERP system? Requirements can also include professional services such as training. Training is essential – otherwise, no one will know how to use the ERP system.
Don’t forget about your legacy infrastructure. Some of it might still be a necessity, and your employees might rely upon it to get day-to-day tasks done. Whatever ERP system you choose must play nicely with it.
Your requirements for your ERP system are the linchpin of your RFP. When you don’t communicate what you need, you’ll never get what you want.