(1) Define Business Requirements and ERP System Success
(2) Request for Information (RFI) from ERP Vendors
(3) Request for Proposal (RFP)
(4) ERP Demonstrations
(5) Due Diligence
The goal of demonstrations is an objective comparison of ERP modules and functionality. The objective is a short list of ERP systems that best fit unique business processes and users. Ease-of-use and complete user acceptance is important.
Strongly recommend retaining an independent third-party ERP professional to assist. Make sure the ERP professional is objective with no affiliation with ERP system vendors. An experienced ERP professional has detailed specialized knowledge on vendors, ERP modules and functionality, and industry specific requirements. Adding an independent ERP professional to the team significantly increases the probability of selecting the best ERP system and implementation success.
Each ERP system has strengths and weaknesses. Certain modules will be a good fit and others weak for your unique business processes. That is expected. No ERP system is a perfect fit. It is a matter of trade-offs. But to adequately compare and analyze you must have an objective comparison of ERP modules and functionality.
Construct a written ERP demonstration script, which defines the specific business processes each ERP vendor should demonstrate during the scripted demonstration. Provide sample organization data, such as products, customers, vendors, and pricing, to make business processes more reality based.
Each vendor follows the same script guidelines to present similar functionality with the same data. Vendors are under strict instructions to exclude any customizations, modifications, or 3rd party products. The same presentations will be made during each of the scripted product demonstrations so you can easily compare between packages and select your short list for further evaluation.
Include as many participants (organization users) from different departments as possible. Beware of selection bias. Do not stack the participant deck and allow decisions to be made by one individual or by one department within the organization. In these situations, an ERP system that may be excellent at one function but weak at other processes may be imposed on the entire organization with serious negative consequences.
Participants should have scorecards to be completed during the scripted demonstration. This provides the organization the ability to gather quantitative data as to how each vendor performed relative to all of the documented processes. Include ease-of-use and complete user acceptance as factors.
It also may be helpful to compare the capabilities of the vendor teams. Did the team have a reasonable understanding of your unique business? Was the team able to answer the queries asked?
Attempt to reach a consensus for a short list of ERP systems that best meets business requirements and complete user acceptance.