How to Build an ERP Requirements Checklist For a Successful Project
Here are some crucial factors to consider when gathering requirements for your first or new ERP solution.
If your organization is in the process of selecting an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, creating a thorough ERP requirements checklist is critical for long-term success. Keep in mind that an ERP solution is the backbone of your entire operations – you want to select one with the capabilities and functionality to address your company’s specific challenges.
The best way to approach this critical task is to map out your business requirements beforehand and make a custom checklist. To help you get started, this article includes vital steps on how to establish an ERP requirements checklist and gives you some questions you should be thinking about during the gathering process.
Determining Your ERP Requirements: Questions to Get You Started
There are a couple of factors you should consider when determining your ERP requirements. An excellent way to begin is to define your mindset and strategy. Here are a few questions you can consider as a starting point.
Why are you looking for a new ERP solution?
What is your current system or processes missing? What is it not able to solve for you? Figuring out the gaps in your current system and processes is a good way to start thinking about some of the capabilities that your new solution should offer you.
What are some of your future goals as a company?
Think about what your organization may look like in the future and some of its goals. Are you anticipating growth? What future challenges might crop up? The ERP solution you select will be one you’re working with for the next couple of years, so you want it to be able to scale and adapt to meet your needs as they evolve.
Do you want an on-premises solution or cloud solution?
Start thinking about the type of deployment you want. On-premises ERP solutions are hosted on your internal servers and managed internally, while cloud ERP is hosted and managed by your vendor. While there are many benefits to cloud ERP, including lower costs, greater data security, and the ability to access data on the go, you need to consider which option is a better fit for your company.
What are your criteria for a vendor?
It’s helpful to cut down your list of ERP software vendors to 2-3 options as that makes evaluation much easier and keeps you from focusing on irrelevant criteria. Think about the following questions – how long they’ve been in business, what experience they have in your industry, how their support for their products is, and how often the product is updated.
How important is integration to your organization?
Your company already has processes and solutions in place. Is it necessary for your ERP software to integrate with your existing third-party solutions? Or will the ERP solution replace those systems entirely? If you know you will need to keep using specific solutions, finding an ERP solution that can easily integrate with it will go a long way in saving time and money in the long run. While forming your checklist, make sure it has the systems mentioned which will be needed to integrate ERP with.
Determining Your ERP Functionality Requirements
It is essential to determine what functions and modules you require and don’t need in your new ERP solution. A typical ERP solution will offer several core modules such as:
Financial management and accounting
Inventory and order management
Supply chain management
Customer relationship management
Human resources management
Business intelligence and reporting
So, for example, if your organization is not in the manufacturing and distribution industry, you won’t require those specific features. Your requirements will depend on your business type, so you must work out exactly what features you’ll need right away. Certain industries require specific functionality or customizations – in those cases, it might be best to consider an ERP solution that has proven reliable and has features specific to your industry.
Another helpful way to determine functionality is to communicate with your employees, especially end-users of your business management solution. Some may even have recommendations of systems they’ve used in previous roles – and often, choosing a system that some of the team members are already familiar with helps cut down on training costs later and get their full support.
The Importance of Establishing a Requirement Checklist
Obtaining and prioritizing ERP requirements ahead of time helps companies make a better choice and greatly decreases the chances of a failed ERP project. Companies can use their ERP requirements checklist throughout the process, right from software selection to implementation. This checklist makes the complex process of investing in a new ERP much easier.
Simpler collection of ERP business requirements from department stakeholders, access to the entire list of ERP software requirements and features on the market, more productive collaboration during software evaluation and selection, and easier tracking of ERP functions during the system implementation – all these benefits highlight the importance of creating requirements checklist.
Building Your ERP Requirements Checklist: 5 Steps To Follow
Now that you have an idea of key requirements and what you should be thinking about, here’s how to begin building that ERP requirement checklist for your organization.
1. Consult employees and define business requirements
Build a comprehensive list of your business requirements for the ERP solution by asking for input from your team to ensure your ERP works at all levels. Begin by mapping out your core business processes and survey the end-users who will be impacted by the new ERP solution the most. Ask them what functionalities they require and if there are any pain points or inefficiency in the current process. Consult business leaders and decision-makers about the changes they’d like to see in reporting and analytics. Working with your team will help you get a clearer picture of your key requirements.
2. Get buy-in from executive management
Getting upper management involved in this process is critical. Engaging them right from the requirements gathering phase will help them better understand the value and benefits the right solution can offer. Getting buy-in and support from upper management will help move the entire project along, making the budget approval process smoother.
3. Decide on a realistic budget and timeframe
It is crucial to decide how much your company is willing to spend on the ERP solution and the associated costs such as implementation, training, and support, etc. The prices will vary depending on many factors, such as the size of your company, the industry you’re in, whether you’re after an on-premises or cloud ERP solution, and the number of integrations or customizations you require. Having a clear understanding of your budget and timeframe will make the process easier in the long run.
4. Set SMART requirements to evaluate ROI
When building your list of key requirements, aim to follow the SMART rule and make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. This will help you measure the value the requirement will eventually produce. If you can measure it from the start, you’ll be able to evaluate this measured benefit against your ERP costs, which will help you calculate your return on investment. Similarly, ensure your requirements are attainable and relevant – and remember that not everything needs to be an essential requirement. Focus on your critical processes and challenges. Finally, they should be time-based, which means you’ll see the value within a couple of years.
5. Identify the type of ERP partner and vendor you’d like to work with
Your ERP partner and vendor will be a critical factor in the success of your ERP project. While gathering requirements for the type of software you’ll require, consider the kind of partner you’d like to work with. This is important because any ERP software you select will likely not be able to do everything you require – there might be process vs. functionality challenges. This is where a good partner will work with you to address these gaps to get to the required end result.
Choosing an ERP solution can be pretty exciting for any enterprise, but it can also be overwhelming and challenging to select the right platform and deal with the issues successfully. If you get it wrong, your ERP solution could be a temporary and pricey system that your company outgrows. Therefore, it is crucial to prepare an ERP requirements list and put it into context for your business before investing in it.
About Kwixand Solutions
As a trusted Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner, we work with companies across North America to help achieve their business goals and scale with ease. As your ERP partner, we dive deep to understand your business inside out and develop creative solutions to make the software work for your company, and not the other way around. To learn more about our service and how we could help you, book a free consultation with our team.