Enterprise applications (ERPs, Finance systems, HCM systems, EPM tools) provide a foundation for digital transformation.

However, the road to selecting the right solutions from the right vendors is a challenging one. Evaluating and selecting ERP vendors is time-consuming and difficult. An RFP supports the organisation’s selection of applications to meet its ERP scope, so its importance must not be underestimated.

ERP applications are long-term investments for the organisation, so it is essential that the evaluation and selection be thorough. The RFP process to select a vendor can stretch out over many months. Not only is money lost during this often unnecessarily protracted process, but the expected returns from the desired solution are needlessly postponed. The need for many organisations to embrace a digital business model requires that the ERP selection process be quick and effective without compromising quality.

The timetable for completing vendor selection can range from as little as six weeks to more than six months. Typically, the selection effort takes three to six months. Very short time frames require extreme effort and governance to ensure appropriate outcomes. Time frames longer than six months are usually a result of a large footprint, multinational scope, or where an organisational culture is highly conservative.

Application leaders responsible for ERP must:

Optimise the structure and format of the RFP by using quantitative and qualitative content to reduce unnecessary project delays.

Conduct a thorough RFP process by involving the full breadth of key stakeholders.

Deliver meaningful RFP results by creating an RFP that emphasises the subset of differentiating data.

Bring new, innovative capabilities to the organisation by striking the right balance in the RFP between prescription and direction. It is also important that all of this is aligned to your overall business strategy and that you don’t think only of enterprise applications. As part of this the aspects of how a systems integration project will affect your business as a whole; from your business processes and change management, right the way through how your organisation is structured to make the necessary changes. All these are areas that need to be considered as part of any digital transformation project.