Determining your ERP Solution Requirements

ERP systems are incredibly robust platforms that can handle numerous functions. With integrated third party apps, the capabilities expand exponentially, so it is important that your company determine what business and operational solutions you are trying to tackle with the ERP system.

Think Future State, Not Current State

Many companies approach an ERP requirements gathering process with the perspective of how their organization currently operates. Though, most companies have developed less than optimal processes due to the limited capabilities of their older technology.

Companies should perform workshops by functional area that will be impacted with a new ERP system. These workshops should detail in process flow mapping the current state of the various processes. Then, they should look for inefficiencies and duplication of efforts that are occurring. Additionally, they should have someone who understands best practices for that particular area to help redesign the processes. The final output should be a series of process flow maps that depict the future state for the company, post ERP implementation.

Be Specific with Functional Requirements

When you are deriving functional requirements, be specific. It is a good idea to gather examples of current inputs and outputs. Get invoice templates, purchase orders, packing slips, sales quote forms, sales order forms, labels, etc. On the output side, get copies of reports. Make sure the reports are across the entire organization and not just senior executive reports. Additionally, be diligent in finding all the hidden and siloed excel sheets that are being used in the organization to modify data prior to input or after output. All of these items should be incorporated, to the greatest degree possible, into your new ERP system and processes.

Think In Phases

As you are compiling your list of requirements for your ERP system, keep track of priorities to help with the roll-out phasing. Phasing in the requirements will help your company adjust to the change and allow for a smoother transition from the old systems.

Phases are typically broken down into Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3:

  • Phase 1 represents items that will be implemented at go-live.These are mission critical items such as invoicing, purchasing, etc.
  • Phase 2 occurs between 90 to 180 days after go-live. This may represent enhanced features such as workflow or it could be the implementation of third party apps, such as cash management
  • Phase 3 occurs in the 1+ year range. These can be more sophisticated features such as advanced cost accounting, warehouse management, etc.

Continue to review your phasing priority list prior to go-live to assure you are properly managing the implementation change management.

Following these simple steps will help get your ERP implementation off to a great start. For more information on ERP implementation, contact Tribridge or download our ebook. 10 Days to ERP Success.

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