While selecting public sector ERP software is similar to selecting private sector ERP software, there are a few key differences of which to be aware. If you are a technology, finance or procurement officer of a government or nonprofit agency and have received budget approval for new technology then these differences are essential for you and your organization to understand before proceeding with the selection and procurement process.

Public sector agencies face a unique set of challenges when preparing for software selection. Because they are often composed of many diverse departments, it can be difficult for an ERP project team to prioritize each department’s various needs, goals and requirements. Another challenge is public scrutiny. Government agencies and nonprofits alike must be transparent in their spending and the cost of new technology must be clearly justified by the benefits it will deliver to constituents on a whole. While benefits realization is important in the private sector, it is arguably even more so in the public sector so agencies need to be able to select software that can deliver measurable benefits.

Following are three crucial steps for agencies beginning the software selection process:

1.   Conduct a needs assessment. A strong project leader should work with representatives from each department to gather a list of organizational requirements. These requirements should be prioritized to arrive at a list of “must have” requirements that are most important to the organization.

2.   Write a request for proposal (RFP). The RFP process ensures that public sector agencies are being fair and open in collecting bids from vendors. An RFP should be brief and to the point and should identify only the most important requirements in order to attract only the appropriate vendors.

3.   Evaluate the options. Once an RFP generates responses, agencies should contact vendors that meet their requirements to ask further questions. These follow-up calls should narrow the list to two or three most viable vendors that can present scripted demonstrations specifically addressing an agency’s requirements.

If you find that at any point during software selection your agency needs the support and guidance of an independent third-party, you are in good company. Many government agencies find that they have a scarcity of time, resources and expertise necessary to conduct a thorough software selection. Panorama’s independent consultants have successfully helped a number of private and public sector organizations overcome this scarcity and select software that delivers benefits to the stakeholders organizations need to please most.

Learn more by visiting our System Selection, Procurement & Acquisition page. Also, be sure to download our on-demand webinar, Tips for Selecting the Right ERP Software for Your Organization.

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