Your ERP requirements have to be clearly defined prior to commencing the research and evaluation of your various ERP options.

If you have been tasked with gathering information about possible ERP options for your company and you are about to begin the research phase, follow the instructions below.

You can use this sample ERP requirements checklist to get an idea of what businesses like yours look for and what the ERP research process looks like. 

Defining your ERP requirements starts with understanding the vendor selection process

If you are evaluating ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions you will no doubt be bewildered by the number of choices available in the ERP market. Questions about Cloud vs On-premise, Tier 1, 2 and 3 products, web, E-commerce, EDI, paperless warehouse, choices of the database and a whole lot of other questions will need to be answered.

When evaluating ERP solutions, it is important that you have a process in place for vendor selection.

This process should include a structure that has an emphasis on running a complete evaluation including:

  • Online investigation of potential solution providers;
  • High-level requirements analysis;
  • Demonstration of capability;
  • The high-level scope of works;
  • Assessment of implementation methodology;
  • Interviews with implementation team members;

More information about the appropriate ERP selection process is available here.

Let’s assume you are running the suggested ERP selection process. This is a somewhat formal structure to ensure downstream implementation success. However, you will still require a level of detail associated with defining the functional and technical ERP requirements.

Here are some ideas to get your thinking started with the ERP requirements definition process for your business.

Defining your business’ ERP requirements: sample checklist

We need to start our ERP selection process by looking internally within the business to answer questions about what functionality our business requires from the ERP system.

This starts at a high level and then drills down into each functional area of requirement:

What do we want to achieve by implementing a new ERP solution? It’s always worthwhile to ask the question – what does success look like for our business? In 6 or 12 months’ time, when we have successfully implemented a new ERP solution, how will our business look like?

  • Improved cash flow. Debtors days reduced from 75 days to 50 days for example;
  • Automation of tasks. List examples of tasks that you want to automate and how much time will be saved through automation;
  • Improved customer service. List how you plan to improve customer service through the implementation of an ERP solution. Examples might include giving your sales teams mobility devices and access to CRM for access to customer information before account management visits or the ability for a sales person to instantly access information associated with customer orders, delivery dates and stock availability for customers.
  • Automated reporting for quicker reporting timeframes. Month-end accounts to be finalised and published within 6 days of month-end. Timely information for better decision making.

When considering a new ERP solution, you will want to prepare your ERP requirements list. The below items (whilst not comprehensive) represent the sort of functionality you might be looking for.

 

Technical requirements

Consider Cloud vs On-premise, mobility and other technical requirements. A sample list of technical questions includes:

  • Cloud vs on-premise
  • Choice of database
  • Client computing requirements
  • Integration to MS Office
  • Server requirements (if you choose an on-premise solution)
  • Operating system
  • Development platform
  • E-commerce integration
  • Mobility options
  • Software development kit details
  • Updates and upgrade process and frequency
  • Bandwidth requirements
  • Third party integrated Solutions / complementary Solutions list
  • Client access with specific reference to remote access requirements – web client vs Remote Desktop
  • MS outlook integration

 

Finance requirements

Your ERP questions as they relate to the financial modules should focus on financial reporting, ATO compliance, management reporting, timely processing of information and automation of tasks:

  • Financial reporting with drill down to source transaction
  • Cash flow analysis and cash flow forecast reporting
  • Flexible chart of accounts
  • Dimensions and cost Centre accounting
  • Budgets – including the ability to load multiple budgets
  • Multi-company and consolidation reporting
  • Payroll integration
  • ATO reporting requirements – BAS
  • Fixed assets module
  • Cash management functionality

 

Distribution requirements

Focus your questions on purchasing, inventory management and logistics.

  • Warehouse management options
  • Bin location functionality
  • Scanning / paperless warehouse options
  • Purchase planning and forecasting
  • Serial number tracking
  • Batch traceability
  • Kitting Requirements
  • Stock take
  • Goods receipting
  • Freight management integration
  • EDI Requirements
  • Purchase orders with workflow and approvals
  • Multiple units of measure
  • Back to back orders
  • Price lists
  • Stock ageing reports
  • Stock expiry dates

For more information on how Enterprise Resource Planning is typically used in the wholesale distribution industry, check our video case study.

 

Manufacturing requirements

Focus on manufacturing planning and resource allocation. Consider the following sample ERP requirements for manufacturing businesses:

  • MRP (Material Requirements Planning)
  • Scheduling
  • Bill of materials with sub-assemblies
  • Works orders
  • Routing
  • WIP tracking
  • Shop floor data capture
  • Resource planning

For more information on how Enterprise Resource Planning is typically used in the manufacturing industry, check our video case study.

 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) requirements

Focus on the sales and marketing process. There is a wide range of CRM and sales functionality available, from the very basic to the complex.

  • Sales force automation
  • Activities and task lists
  • Marketing automation
  • Newsletter emailing
  • Sales workflow
  • Reporting
  • Pipeline management
  • Mobility
  • Marketing campaign management
  • Service
  • Service management
  • Allocation of Support tickets
  • Service scheduling
  • Mobility capabilities
  • Service contracts
  • Timesheets
  • Warranty management

 

Reporting requirements

Reporting and analytics are key for most businesses looking to streamline their decision-making process and become proactive about their strategy. Consider reporting requirements such as:

  • KPIs
  • Dashboards
  • Real-time analytics
  • Pre-built data sources and “cubes”
  • Pre-built reports

 

Conclusion

It’s important to run a structured process of ERP selection to ensure success for your business. To do this, you need to define what success looks like for your organisation in the short, medium and long-term.

In this article, we have given some recommendations on what to consider when choosing your ERP requirements. This is a key step that businesses looking to implement a new system should take prior to beginning the selection process.

A Leverage Technologies we have been implementing helping Australian businesses choosing and implementing Enterprise Resource Planning for over a decade.

For more information or to speak to a consultant near you today, call 1300 045 046 or email info@leveragetech.com.au.