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Choosing the right ERP software is no easy task but turning a “long-list” of ERP vendors into a “short-list” is the key to finding the ERP software that fulfills vital business requirements and helps organizations achieve measurable business benefits.

Even after organizations have defined their business requirements, there will probably still be a long list of ERP vendors to sort through. This is where prioritization comes in handy, and there’s no better way to narrow down a long vendor list than defining the “must have” requirements that support the most basic and essential business needs.

Following are five tips that can help organizations prioritize their business requirements and narrow their list of ERP vendors to only a few that are most viable:

1. Set realistic expectations and understand from the beginning that no ERP system is going to address each and every business requirement. Prioritize business requirements based on business value:

  • Must Have – Provides significant business improvements in terms of revenue, strategy and compliance and maintains basic functions of the business that “keep the lights on.”
  • Valuable – Beneficial to improving business processes but not critical.
  • Nice to Have – Makes employee’s jobs easier but won’t necessarily provide significant business process improvement.

2. Use a formal request for information (RFI) to prompt the ERP vendors on your long list to address your organization’s specific business requirements. Ensure that vendors don’t just give a canned sales pitch during demos but actually show how their enterprise solution will actually serve your organization’s “must have” requirements. During vendor demos, pay close attention to each vendor’s functional strengths and weaknesses.

3. End-users should be on the same page in regard to what functionalities are critical so be sure to involve staff members from all departments in the demos as well as in the decision process.

4. Hire an independent ERP consultant to bring a balanced and neutral point-of-view to the decision process. Ask the consultant to evaluate your long list and short list of vendors based on functionality, strengths and limitations. Consultants can also provide invaluable assistance in the requirements gathering stage of the ERP project.

5. Evaluate your new vendor list to ensure that it is significantly shorter than before. Ideally, a short list should contain no more than two to three ERP vendors.

When narrowing a long list of ERP vendors into a short list, organizations should always aim to minimize time, cost and risk. At Panorama, we offer ERP selection services that that incorporate our PERFECT Fit methodology. To learn more, be sure to watch our on-demand webinar, Tips for Selecting the Right ERP Software for Your Organization.