ERP Requirements: It's Not Just about the Features

What do you require in your ERP system? The first ERP requirement is easy, and hard at the same time. ERP is a tool that should help you meet the goals of your business. Line up your goals. Will the ERP help you achieve them better than your current system?

Next think about your company’s pain points and what might be broken today. Your ERP should help cure what ails you and be a lot more than a band-aid.

Be sure you capture the ERP requirements of all your users and not just the executives and power users. Your leaders are important but your users are your soldiers marching along and keeping your customers satisfied. The ERP is your access point for key company information and it should be easy to use every day.

Beyond the Feature List

You will have this ERP for a decade or longer. Anticipate what your ERP requirements will be in the future and how the ERP will help next year as much as you want it to help tomorrow. With this long term view on the system, your requirements should be about much more than the ERP feature list.

Your hardware and networks are a part of the ERP system too. They need to deliver real-time information to users in every one of your facilities at the same time with no down time. Can the existing components work with the software? Will you need to add to them or maybe replace some of it? Computers and networks are getting better and faster with time. You might need to replace some of the parts even if they never wear out.

OK, the software and initial hardware are covered. Now, get them working. Will your ERP vendor provide all the help you need getting it installed and running they way it needs to run? What is their track record? How much will it cost? Will they help you get yourself up to speed or do they want to do it all themselves? Vendor support includes fine-tuning the ERP to give you your requirements and it includes support with conversion of your old data to formats that fit the new system. If the ERP vendor doesn’t provide the support, can you hire a third party to help? No matter which way you go, will the support be ready on your schedule or are they trying to support too many customers at the same time?

The ERP system will develop and improve over time. Be sure you get ongoing ERP support. That support will give you access to help when you need it. Support will also give you updates to the software when they identify and fix the bugs. There will be incremental improvements in the ERP software over time and you will want to see these and select the ones that will help match your ERP requirements.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller