This checklist can help you to record your own requirements in a structured way to select the appropriate one from the various ERP providers.
Preparation and decision-making basis:
1. Draw up a specification sheet
The creation of a specification sheet is a fundamental step in the search for new software. Your own business processes and administrative structures are analysed and documented and thus, already in the first phase, improvement possibilities in processes can be identified. It also helps to clearly formulate your own requirements for a new system: What do you need, and why?
2. Estimate own time expenditure
The implementation of an ERP system is a time-consuming process that has to be done in addition to the daily business. You should plan in advance for some time to coordinate the project with the provider, to provide the data for the data transfers, to have the users trained on the new system, to check in an intensive test phase whether all your wishes and ideas have been implemented.
3. Data preparation for data transfer
The data of an enterprise can be divided into master data and transaction data, which both must be taken into account during a conversion. You need to clarify which data is to be transferred. The system change is also a good opportunity to "clean up" your own master data structures.
4. Clarify responsibilities
For the system change it is useful to first define a project team and key users. Since rules for authorizations are anchored in the system, they should be defined in advance. Responsibilities in the test phase should also be regulated. In this way, delays are less likely to occur later.
Selection of potential providers:
Once you have decided to invest in an ERP system, you have to make a selection of possible providers and systems. In order to reduce the selection of promising candidates, you should consider a range of specific criteria and find your own needs in it:
5. Solution approach: holistic or industry-specific
An holistic ERP covers a wide range of requirements of different economic sectors and includes modules from different specialist areas. However, this diversity can have the disadvantage that industry-specific features are not included in the standard system and have to be purchased or adapted. Industry-specific ERP solutions on the other hand are often extremely expensive and not very flexible. It is worthwhile to clarify the mapping of your industry-specific requirements with potential providers as early as possible.
6. Adaptability and functionality
ERP systems can also differ greatly in terms of their adaptability and functionalities. The more specialist departments can be meaningfully integrated into the ERP system, the more benefits can be derived from it.
a. Scope of the modules: With a modular system, additional company divisions can be integrated at a later date. This keeps both license and service costs low at the start of the project and additions can be made later based on the experience gained.
b. Integration level of the processes: A high degree of integration has the advantage of cooperating data streams from all functional areas. Thus redundancies and costs can be minimized. Since a complete integration across all areas is often not possible, ask yourself the question: What must be available in the ERP system?
c. Availability of interfaces: The communication between systems takes a lot of work off the user's shoulders. For example, by transmitting production data to the ERP or automatic reports to the tax office. Depending on the number of interfaces, it is recommended to use a flexible and adaptable system.
d. Scalability: In order to connect additional users or functional areas as the company or system grows, the ideal ERP should allow easy expansion with modules or additional users.
e. Concepts of authorization: It should be possible to control user access rights dynamically, for example, in the form of role concepts or authorization profiles.
7. Long-term security
a. Data protection requirements: Data protection guidelines must be adhered to by the ERP at all levels and solution concepts must be offered for possible changes to the guidelines.
b. Implementation partners and manufacturers: In some cases the implementing partner and the manufacturer of the ERP are not the same party, in which case a risk assessment of both would be appropriate.
c. Future viability: The system should have a structure that is as open as possible so that one is able to react to changes such as technical aspects or the processes in the modules, e.g. in case of new interfaces or new requirements of the legislator.
The acceptance of a system by the users often depends on how easy it is to use. Is the structure clear or are there structured menus and instructions?
9. technical structure
It is not uncommon for the purchase of a new ERP system to involve an upgrade of the existing technical infrastructure. In addition, the concepts used in the system to ensure data integrity in the database as well as the backup and recovery of data are crucial.
10. Price-performance ratio
The price-performance ratio plays a fundamental role in the decision, in addition to all the factors mentioned. It is a matter of achieving a good ratio between the required total scope and the offer.