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When it comes to ERP implementations, technology is not nearly as important as business process reengineering and organizational change management. That’s not to say organizations shouldn’t spend adequate time on ERP software selection, however. Taking the time to define business requirements and select the right ERP software ensures that your organization’s business processes steer software configuration and not the other way around.

Prior to software selection, your organization should have a criteria list that will guide your evaluation of each ERP vendor. This list will vary depending on your organization’s industry and company size, and might include criteria related to functional fit, technology fit and vendor viability. Most importantly, your list should include high-level business requirements, which can be gathered by holding a comprehensive ERP requirements workshop prior to selection.

A requirements gathering workshop is useful for developing demo scripts that ERP vendors can follow when demonstrating their product. The 17th Vendor Shootout for ERP on June 12-14 in Chicago, Illinois, provides a unique opportunity for ERP project teams to watch live, scripted Vendor Shootout for ERPdemonstrations of ERP software packages. Panorama will be moderating this event and hosting workshops on ERP selection, organizational change management and requirements planning.

For those attending this event, the importance of requirements planning and prioritization will become very clear as attendees attempt to evaluate the functional fit of a variety of top ERP vendors. Since no ERP system addresses every possible business requirement, requirements planning can help organizations come to a company-wide consensus on which business processes are critical to the company as a whole and which processes can be standardized.

Following are three tips for conducting an ERP requirements gathering workshop:

  1. Encourage employees to open up about their needs by beginning each workshop with a discussion on pain points. Be sure to pay equal attention to each functional area and conduct multiple workshops if necessary.
  2. Organize business requirements by functional area and define the relationship between each area in terms of how they interact. Use this process map to improve business processes and reengineer processes that are inefficient.
  3. Remember that requirements workshops can bring additional responsibility to already overworked employees. During workshops, it’s important to stay focused on the goal: gathering an accurate documentation of your organization’s functional requirements in no more or no less detail than would be necessary to provide the ERP project team with a focused list of selection criteria.

If your organization conducts requirement gathering workshops prior to evaluating ERP vendors, you will be less overwhelmed by the vast number of options before you.

Phew! Now that you’ve defined all those requirements, how about attending some scripted ERP software demos? You can register for the Vendor Shootout right now and take advantage of the last day of Early Bird Pricing. See you in Chicago!

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