ERP Software RFP Evaluation - Selection Strategy
Almost as important as the development of an RFP document, is the development of a structured evaluation of the ERP vendor’s responses through a well constructed ERP selection strategy. Not using a predefined selection criteria to evaluate these responses, will result in work up to this point being lost in a disorderly debate over who thinks which vendor is best.
Key RFP Requirements
The first criterion we can use in our response evaluation is our ERP requirements. We will have identified some as must have or high priority. If a prospective ERP vendor cannot fulfill one of these primary requirements their ERP proposal will be set aside.
Next, assess the vendor’s response on lower priority items. You may look for a breadth of feature support regardless of the customization or integration work involved. You may prefer responses which cover less features but focus on out-of-the-box supply, leaving you without the burden of further ERP implementation costs.
Level of Professional Services
Your ERP selection strategy should also consider further support, prospective ERP vendors should provide a commitment to your requested level of ongoing support and professional services. Every project’s required support levels will be different. You might want constant support throughout implementation, or you might want emergency support only. Looking for an ERP proposal that has understood your support requirements and met or exceeded them should be integral to your ERP selection strategy.
Financial stability from your ERP vendor is also important. Look for a solid balance sheet and a profitable P/L statement with a reasonable rate of growth. Your vendor should have other clients and must not depend on your business for their continued existence.
Consider the vendor’s previous or current clients - these could be the references given in their RFP response or identified through your own research. You may decide evidence of previous experience on projects similar to yours is key in ERP selection - a niche skillset to match your niche project. On the other hand, you may be more interested in seeing variety in past projects, demonstrating a breadth of ERP experience and knowledge.
As you can see, it is important to establish your ERP selection strategy criteria before you begin reviewing proposals. Bells and whistles can easily cloud your vision once you have begun the review process and objectivity can collapse like a house of cards.
Despite the challenges involved, each step towards developing an ERP selection strategy can be achieved with careful pre-planning and a clear and concise output. Apply these to your ERP selection strategy and you will be able to conduct the next stage of your ERP project - whether it be a software demo or an RFQ - in an efficient and knowledgeable manner.
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