Evaluating enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for possible acquisition is a major undertaking – you and your selection committee/stakeholders have a lot of research material and operation data to consider.
We’ve tried to alleviate some of the challenge by building you this practical list of ERP evaluation criteria based on our extensive research and real user data with ERP selection projects in our technology selection management (TSM) platform.
Take advantage of the key ERP evaluation criteria and functionality checklist on this page to help you get off on the right foot with your ERP research.
Use this template once you’re ready to start prioritizing the your specific requirements for an ERP implementation. As a bonus, you get an amazing requirements management tool for free to manage your complete ERP requirements and evaluation process.
See the full list of key ERP evaluation and functionality criteria:
ERP Evaluation Criteria
Your ERP software should meet most or the following criteria, depending on your organizational needs:
Customer Relationship/Account Management
Ensure that the CRM module lets users view customers across a wide range of custom views including products, geography, account type and more. An effective CRM Module should also allow ease of access to necessary ERP information on any device at any time.
Accounts Payable Reporting
Good ERP systems will provide your AP team with sufficient reporting so that collections is more efficient and account aging is easier to assess.
Your potential ERP solution needs a Bank Reconciliation feature to help your organization reconcile bank statement balances with the General Ledger cash accounts amount.
Your ERP needs a system for to manage and track participation in benefits programs, including insurance, compensation, profit sharing and retirement programs.
CRP (Capacity Requirements Planning)
If you need to determine the resources required to meet production requirements, a CRP module is essential within your ERP.
MRP (Material Requirements Planning)
Some organizations require production planning, scheduling, and an inventory control system. If this is part of your requirements as well, check that the ERPs you are evaluating include this module.
BOM (Bill Of Materials)
Do you need to use bills of material when creating production orders to manufacture products? If so, be sure this feature is built into whatever ERP you are considering.
Since logistics management is essential to all of your organization’s planning and execution, having logistics management in your ERP is a core feature. I don’t think an ERP qualifies without logistics management as an integral feature.
BI (Business Intelligence)
We’ve touched on business intelligence requirements before – with many of the top BI solutions being stand alone products. However, BI can also be part of your ERP as well. It’s a matter of organizational preference whether you harness the BI tools in your ERP or select a stand-alone, best in class BI tool.
Email tools come in many different platforms. Being part of essential CRM requirements, you’ll likely already have them if you’ve deployed a separate CRM. However, if your ERP is also your core CRM (as listed above), make sure that robust email tools are part of the product feature set.
Here again is a choice of organizational preference whether your ERP acts as your point of commerce or you select a stand-alone commerce platform.
If you want help improving overall efficiency, accuracy of financial reporting, and shortening close cycles, having advanced allocations functionality in your ERP is critical.
Tax Administration: Payroll & Tax Filing
You need a tax administration technology as a core part of your ERP solution as it inherently saves your finance team substantial time, money and effort.
Engineering Change Management
Managing your products and manufacturing and business processes is a fundamental and continual challenge your organization likely faces. Having a solid ECM component ensures that challenge is most effectively handled. The solution should have ECM with central logistics functions that can be used to change various aspects of production basic data depending on specific conditions.
Customer Credit Management
Your ERP software needs to report customer’s credit standing for any time period and be able to monitor ongoing sales activity for customers designated as needing credit hold evaluation for sales.
ATP software module gives manufacturers better visibility into completion through all levels and across the entire supply chain. This may functionality may be optional to your organization but is something many organizations need to have come standard in their ERP.
Advanced Planning System (APS)
You need to track costs based on the activities that are responsible for driving costs in the production of manufactured goods using APS. It should also be able allocate raw materials and production capacity optimally to balance demand and plant capacity.
If in manufacturing, you need tools that support lean manufacturing and flow scheduling practices for production, replenishment and inventory.
Business Process Management (BPM)
Business Process Management Software will provide the capability to automate virtually any business process. This is vital to your ERP system and selection.
Flexible Network Design
A flexible network design can increase the efficiency and scalability of a supply chain module and is generally a critical and included element of any top ERP selection.
Your selected ERP package needs integration between modules and optionally (but often necessary) other 3rd party platform APIs, so that all of the core business functions are connected. Information should flow across the organization so that BI reports on organization-wide results.
You’ll likely be selecting from either a SaaS or On-Premise ERP Installation. Both have their pros and cons so make sure you evaluate your organization’s preference extensively. Part of the evaluation you are consider should include what are the Implementation Services available, what are the Maintenance Contracts/On-site maintenance availability, etc.
Any good ERP should include the following support channels: Forum/Community Support, Phone & Email, Chat & Instant Message. Great Support would include 24×7 availability considering how critical their ERP system is to your organization functioning at it’s best. Further, support should include extensive end-user training development tools, as well.
Obviously ERP is an advanced technology with many different potential modules you’ll want to utilize. Make sure that upfront and ongoing training comes standard from your list of potential ERP vendors.
Previous Experience With Vendor
Has your organization engaged with this vendor for a previous project? Do some due diligence on this to make sure there weren’t past performance issues (integration, staff interfacing, etc.) that rule out a possible vendor you are considering.
As we’ve recommended before in our CRM checklist, be sure to check out financially stability/status using services like Dun & Bradstreet. Check for funding history (including most recent funding), count of employees, and other indicators that the selection of ERP vendors you’re evaluating are in good shape fiscally.
Top Analyst Reports, Community Reviews, Customer Recommendation
Check that the ERP Vendors you are evaluating have received positive scores and reviews across the range of ERP features and functions listed above. Make sure you evaluate from the perspective of both analysts and within ERP customer review sites.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when selecting an ERP platform which is why we put together this ERP checklist. We hope you found it useful and a good starting point for starting your ERP selection project.
To best manage your ERP selection process, we highly recommend using this complimentary ERP requirements template and tool. It will help you more effectively manage your selection and make sure you choose the right ERP for your organization’s needs.