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ERP Selection: Don’t Waste Time with a Poorly Crafted Request for Proposal

ERP Selection: Don’t Waste Time with a Poorly Crafted Request for Proposal

ERP request for proposalERP request for proposals (RFP) get a bad rap as being a waste of time for both the creator and the ERP vendor filling it out. Of course, a RFP is not required for ERP selection and many companies have selected their systems without it- but did they select the right one? Did they struggle to make their decisions? Were they still happy after implementation? Maybe…or maybe not. Writing up an ERP RFP is just another step to take to ensure you select the right ERP system and the right ERP vendor so you don’t regret your decision later. But there is a difference between writing an RFP and writing a GOOD RFP.

Many companies just go through the motion when writing up an RFP or use a standard template they found online somewhere, but going through the motions isn’t enough and generally these RFP’s only touch on their needs. In the end, those standard templates or poorly written documents end up being pretty useless.

As with anything else, if you want the answers you need to ask the questions! So here are some of the topics you should include in your RFP during ERP selection to make sure you are not wasting anyone’s time and gathering information that will be truly helpful when it comes down to your final decision.

  1. General vendor information such as:
    • Contacts.
    • Address.
    • Contact info- phone numbers and emails
    • Company websites and blogs.
    • How long have they been in business?
    • Important partnerships.
    • Etc.
  2. What does the vendor offer?
    • Software and products offered.
    • Solutions written by the vendor.
    • Products they resell.
    • Services they provide.
      • Support.
      • User Training.
      • IT training.
      • Coding.
      • Customization.
      • Warranties
      • Upgrade plans.
  3. Information about the business relationship.
    • Financing options and availability
    • Preferred financial terms.
    • Licensing models.
    • Will support and software come from single vendor or multiple?
    • Contracts and agreements- samples for review.
    • Solution the vendor is proposing.
      • Name and description of solution.
      • Number of installed customers.
      • Proven ROI expectations and examples from other customers.
      • Product roadmap.
      • Upgrade plans.
      • Available demo options.
      • Customer referral information.
        1. Contact information.
        2. Industry and business information.
        3. Solutions provided to the customer.
        4. Expected costs.
  4. Can modules be licensed separately?
    • What are the separate costs of the modules?
      • Support.
      • Training.
      • Other services.
  5. Costs expected for travel and consulting before, during, and after implementation.
  6. What do you want the solution to address?
    • How can this solution address them?
    • What technical capabilities do you want/need in the system?
    • Consider a yes/no checklist.
      • Be sure to include which features are important, helpful, essential, want, need, etc.
    • Technical requirements.
      • Operating system for server and desktop computers.
      • Hardware platform.
      • Integration needs.
      • Databases.
      • Third-party solutions.
      • Implementation process.
        1. Ask the vendor to describe typical needs assessment and implementation processes.
        2. Who performs implementation?
        3. What disruptions can be expected?
        4. Time frame for implementation.
        5. Testing and validation of functionality process?
        6. How do they handle problems and issues that arise during implementation?
  7. How should the vendor respond to your ERP RFP?
    • Should they respond via email, phone, CD, DVD, hardcopy, etc?
    • Contact name- who should receive completed RFP?
    • Ask for information regarding who you should call if you have additional questions for the vendor.
    • Give them an expected return date for the ERP RFP.

Developing an RFP is NEVER fun and it is not a requirement prior to selection but it can be greatly beneficial to the overall project with benefits such as:

  • Providing your ERP selection team a better focus.
  • Giving your potential ERP vendor a specific idea of your goals and expectations.
  • Gives everyone a focus and direction in a complicated process.
  • Established general and specific expectations, needs, and wants.
  • Internal preparation before finalizing the deal.
  • It is a good way to get a fair and accurate comparison of products/vendors.
  • It is a proven way to help make a better choice about your ERP software.
  • And more.

What other questions or topics should be covered in your ERP RFP during your ERP selection? Other potential benefits of a well crafted RFP? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Still evaluating your ERP options? Our free template can help you, download it here.

e2b teknologies operates three business units – e2b anytime apps , e2b enterprise, and e2b calibration. e2b enterprise develops custom cloud-based business applications and resells leading ERP accounting software, CRM, HRMS, and other enterprise business software applications from Sage Software, Epicor, Intacct, Sugar CRM, and other publishers. e2b anytime is the publisher of Anytime Collect, Anytime Assets, Anytime 500, Anytime Commerce, and related Anytime brand products. e2b calibration is an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited calibration and repair laboratory providing a full scope of services (traceable to NIST) for most popular calibration, test, and measurement instruments.

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by Jeanne Lee

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