Create Your ERP Specification - It's Free
Processes and requirements were analyzed and all departments were involved. All information has been incorporated into the ERP specification. If you are at this point, you have already reached a milestone in your ERP project. Now it is a matter of continuing to proceed in a structured manner. You can read about the individual steps required in this article.
Overview: Further Steps According to the ERP Specifications
Choosing a suitable ERP provider can seem like a monumental task. After all, there are hundreds of different systems available in the market. In order to identify the best possible solution and not overlook any option, a systematic approach is essential. Choosing a suitable ERP provider is by no means trivial. After all, there are hundreds of different systems available in the market. In order to identify the best possible solution and not overlook any option, a systematic approach is essential. Before we get into the details, however, the steps according to the ERP specifications are roughly outlined: The steps outlined in the ERP specifications are:
- Create a list of possible vendors
- Send ERP specifications to vendor list
- Evaluate feedback
- Create a short list of preferred vendors
- Conduct meetings with shortlisted ERP providers
- Have ERP specifications drawn up by selected vendor
- Contracts signed and further project planning
Let's Take a Closer Look at These Individual Steps of the ERP Selection:
1. Create a Long List
As soon as the ERP specification has been created and the requirements are clear, the search for a suitable ERP system can begin. The first step is a selection of potentially suitable providers - the creation of a "long list". For this it is necessary to get an overview of the complex ERP market. This can be achieved, for example, with Internet research, visits to trade fairs, and industry literature. Independent consultants who know the market well can also be consulted. In general, the following criteria can be helpful for the long list selection:
- Agreement on the main functional requirements
- Desired operating model (On-Premise, Cloud, Hybrid)
- Satisfying industry requirements
The result is a list of potentially suitable ERP providers. How extensive this list should be cannot be determined until you conduct your search. As a guideline, you can assume 10 to 20 providers.
2. Send ERP Specifications to Long List of Providers
Compiling the long list only achieves one interim goal. It is now necessary to further shorten the list of providers in order to be able to focus later on the two to five most promising ERP systems in the ERP selection. This is where the ERP specifications come into play. It will be sent to all providers on the long list as a request for information.
3. Evaluate Provider Submissions
Based on your ERP specifications, you will now receive feedback from the individual ERP providers. These give you detailed insights into the functions as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the various ERP solutions. But some soft facts also play a role at this point. These include the speed of response as well as the degree of customization and the added value of the feedback. This phase also shows whether the ERP provider is on an equal footing with you.
4. Create a Short List
Based on the vendor submissions, you can now further reduce your long list. Personal meetings with the ERP providers with short presentations of the solutions are recommended. In this context, you can also evaluate whether the interpersonal chemistry is right - an important consideration.
As mentioned earlier, your shortlist should contain a maximum of five ERP providers. Intensive discussions and workshops with these ERP vendors will now be scheduled. The bigger the short list, the more resources you will need for this phase of ERP selection.
5. Conduct Meetings with Short Listed ERP Providers
This step is about choosing from the remaining ERP providers the one that best suits your company. You should proceed with caution here - after all, the decision has long-term effects on your entire business operations. It is customary to get to know the short list providers and their ERP systems in detail in workshops.
These meetings should be based on the ERP specifications and give the software providers the opportunity to present their solution. There should also be time allocated for all of your questions. A professional and efficient ERP provider prepares thoroughly for these meetings and conducts a presentation that is individually tailored to you. In addition to the ERP requirement specification, personal supplier briefings in advance can help ensure that the workshops stay on point.
Pay attention to the soft factors in addition to the technical and functional topics. Also, listen to your gut instinct: Do you have the confidence that the ERP provider can handle the project? You can also remove any uncertainties by requesting and reviewing references. The provider may have experience with comparable projects within your industry. In some cases, reference visits can even be carried out.
Once the workshops have been completed and all relevant offers are available, you have to decide on an ERP system. Always make this far-reaching decision after weighing all hard and soft factors.
6. Have Selected Provider Draw Up ERP Specifications
Another event is now pending with the “chosen” ERP provider, in which you can jointly discuss all the requirements from the ERP specifications. In this way, the last misunderstandings can be eliminated. The provider then creates an ERP specification. In it, he describes how he would like to implement the requirements of the ERP specification from a technical point of view. This document should be carefully checked in order to rule out different interpretations of the solution approaches and to avoid expensive rework. The ERP specification will later become the basis of the contract.
7. Contract Signing and Further Project Planning
As soon as the specification and offer from the preferred provider are finalized, work can begin. With more complex projects, it is common to agree on a pilot installation. In some cases, termination clauses are also included in case the pilot installation is a failure. In some cases, the contract is only signed after the pilot installation has been completed.
If the parties agree and the contract has been finalized, the implementation of the new ERP system can begin. Important to know: The ERP specification will accompany you throughout the project. It is not just the basis of the technical implementation. It also supports the project planning including the milestones as well as the final acceptance.
Conclusion: A Structured Approach is Best
To sum up, the path from the finished ERP specification sheet through the ERP selection to the final implementation is complex. To guarantee a high level of investment security, companies and ERP providers should proceed in a structured manner. The specification sheet is an important working document here. It helps those responsible to reduce the large number of vendor possibilities step by step to two to five ERP systems. The remaining candidates can then be examined and compared in a focused manner. However, the ERP specification is also important, as it represents the most important basis for successful technical implementation.
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