Gathering requirements for a new ERP system is one of the most important steps for having your ERP project be successful. Choosing the right system demands a robust requirement gathering exercise to ensure any system can meet your business needs. Getting the wrong ERP is often a costly mistake that hurts the growth potential of your business.
If you want success you need to look past simple functionality and take a long-term, business-wide view of what you need a system to do. In this article we will look at this bigger picture and show you how to gather requirements for a new ERP system.
Start with Your Business Goals
Starting with your business goals is a great way to understand your requirements for any ERP system. By defining your business goals, you can see what you want to accomplish with an ERP system and start to align stakeholders to this vision.
Having your goals laid out will be the start of determining which ones are most relevant and if any business processes will need to change to accommodate them. A change to business processes can have a massive impact on what ERP system is right for you, so it is vital to work this out early.
Once you have these goals you will have gathered basic requirements for a new ERP system because you will have highlighted vital functionality. For example, if you want to streamline your supply chain then you will want an ERP that includes a supply chain module. If you wanted better customer retention, then you would need one with CRM functionality. A wealth of modules exists for ERP systems and having your business goals at hand will help you quickly see what system will or will not be suitable.
Work with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
If you want to get the most accurate requirements you need to work with SMEs from different departments. These people are using the current system frequently and have an in-depth knowledge of the processes within their department.
You want to work with the people who know how things are done in a department, not how they “should” be done based on an old, dusty manual in the office. SMEs can provide insight into how departments really operate and can describe the pain points and inefficiencies of their department.
This will build your requirements as you know what functionality is vital to keep your business running, as well as create “nice to have” requirements that can help differentiate between systems.
Think About the Future
It can be easy to focus on what you need an ERP system to do right now. But consider how this could change within the next year. If you are bringing new products to market or experiencing fast growth, then it is important to factor these things in to the requirements gathering exercise. Otherwise you can end up with a system that works well today but you quickly outgrow it and are back at square one.
Unless you have a magic 8-ball you cannot predict everything your business will need in the future. But even looking at your company’s plans for the next three years can highlight requirements that do not currently exist but may be important in the future.
Bonus Tips to Gather Requirements for a New ERP System
There are a few other things to consider when gathering requirements for a new ERP system. First, make sure you give employees the time required to properly gather requirements. It can be difficult to juggle the additional responsibility with their day job and having to swap between tasks can cause distraction. This broken focus leads to missed information and having to repeat workshops which wastes more time.
Secondly, your requirements need to come from well document processes. This means a high level of detail when mapping out these processes. Consider the end-to-end of each process along with all the interactions and steps that are involved.
Finally, prioritising the requirements you create will help with the selection process. At the end of the requirements gathering process, you will have a mixture of vital, useful, and nice to have requirements. It is important to sort these into categories so you know where each requirement sits and can use this to test vendors. Finding a system that matches every requirement is unlikely, so be prepared by knowing exactly what your business cannot do without.
To gather requirements for a new ERP system you must consider what your business goals are, work with subject matter experts, as well as think about the future of your business. These will give you a good foundation for the rest of your ERP project and ensure that your chance of success is maximised.
To find out how we can help you with requirements gathering, get in touch with us today.