What should go in your ERP RFIs?
One first step toward an ERP for many organizations is a request for information. This is a document you would send to a variety of ERP providers and consultants seeking information you will use to home your eventual request for a quote. What should be in this document?
Needs and wants
You have already met with users and leaders in your organization and developed a list of needs and wants. It might not yet be final but it should be prioritized. That priority list is important so that responders can specifically address the needs you perceive at this beginning stage. These needs should be both business and technical in nature. Your list should not be a list of features from some ERP advertisement.
A description of your business
Give your responders some idea of what you do and how you do it. Provide some background telling how you started and how you developed to the point you are today. Tell them too where you plan to go in the future and what your current plan to get there is.
Information on current systems
Describe your systems and processes used today. What you have and how you chose those systems and processes. What you think future needs will be is important.
You are where you are now because some constraints limited you in the past. Some of those constraints probably still are in your path. If you have little cash and think a cloud ERP is your need, here is where you let your responders know. Constraints also include personnel skills you might believe you need for an ERP implementation.
Which products and services you’re interested in
ERP systems often are modules that work together. If you primarily are a service business, you might not typically want an inventory module. However, if you need to keep an inventory of repair components, you should let the responders know. Do you want information on training? How about after-the-sale support? A request for ERP information should include whatever you need beyond the system itself. If you want the vendors to include server and network hardware and systems, let them know.
How to reply
This is a very important section. Give your responders an address to send their replies. Let them have the name and contact information for a person if any additional information is needed to provide a complete response. Set a date when all replies are due and let them know what you plan to do with any replies received after that date. They should know how you plan to evaluate the replies so they can tailor the replies to your expectations
You might receive many replies or only a few. Nevertheless, if the request is carefully developed the replies should be enough to proceed.
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