You’ve written the RFP, and vendor responses are starting to roll in. Choosing the right vendor should be easy, you think. It’s a matter of picking the best one, right?
Here’s the problem: what you think is the best is subjective. Your colleagues may well believe that Vendor B is much better suited than Vendor A to provide your ERP system. How do you choose? This post will explore how you can create an evaluation system so the vendor selection process is smooth and headache-free.
Choosing an ERP vendor shouldn’t be a decision you make based on your gut. Again, your gut feeling might be different than your colleagues’ gut feelings. Getting into arguments about which vendor is better is a waste of time. There’s a way to save time (as well as effort and emotional exhaustion) – you need to set up pre-defined selection criteria in advance.
You don’t need to go far to find your selection criteria; they’re already in your RFP. You should ask yourself how well a vendor meets your requirements, what kinds of professional services it provides, its financial stability, and what other clients have said. However, it’s more than just ticking off boxes. You have to decide how much weight you’re going to give to each category.
How well a vendor meets your requirements is quite important. If there’s something that you want that’s high-priority or a must-have, the vendor has to be able to meet that need in order to move forward. You must also determine how far you’re willing to compromise on lower-priority items or what matters when it comes to this category (for example, you might want greater out-of-the-box functionality, which lowers your implementation costs in the long run).
It’s also crucial to know what kind of professional services you’re looking for from the outset. What support level do you need during and after the implementation? Figuring this out might take a bit of time, but once you know the answer, you can easily evaluate whether a vendor will meet your needs.
When it comes to client references, you also need to assess what’s important to you. Are you looking for breadth or depth of experience? Again, this conversation might be time-consuming, but it’s one that will save you time during the decision-making process.
Everyone has different opinions on what matters most. In order to shorten the decision-making process, you need to decide what is critical and where you can compromise before you evaluate RFPs. Otherwise, the deliberations can drag on, tempers will flare, and you’ll ultimately lose focus.
The decision to choose a new ERP system isn’t an easy one, but there are things you can do to make it go smoother. Setting selection criteria in advance is one of them. It helps everyone stay on the same page during the vendor selection process so your organization gets the best possible ERP system.