ERP Requirements Definition

Today, our industry is inundated with a plethora of ERP checklists. There are two problems with checklists: lack of completeness and definition. At Ultra we do not believe in using an ERP requirements checklist to determine requirements for your new ERP software system. We feel they add little value in evaluating ERP systems.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software systems act as the backbone of modern-day businesses, integrating various departments, processes, and data into one unified platform. Think of it as the ultimate multitasker, handling everything from finance and inventory management to customer relationship management and human resources. Most ERP systems have built-in functionality around many of these areas. But here's the catch: every business has unique needs, and that's where defining ERP requirements comes into play.

Why are ERP Requirements Important?

Imagine trying to solve a puzzle without knowing what the final picture looks like. Defining ERP requirements is like having a clear vision of that puzzle’s desired outcome. By outlining your needs and goals upfront—your ERP purchasing considerations—you can ensure that the ERP system you choose aligns perfectly with your business operations. It’s all about avoiding unnecessary headaches and wasted resources during your ERP project.

How to Determine Your ERP Requirements Definition

An enterprise software selection project is all about business process transformation with modern ERP technology. Therefore, the ERP requirements definition should focus on defining the future state of business processes and evaluating the ERP solution against that future state business process model. The future state business process model then becomes the requirements definition. In other words, focus on the business functions you want to improve using an ERP system, then use those as your ERP software requirements to find the right ERP system for your business.

The ERP requirements definition becomes a script of business processes of sorts. The function requirements are listed within the process script, the goal being to streamline processes and achieve value from the ERP.

business process erp requirements

Enterprise Software Consulting for Food & Beverage

Ultra compiles valuable software intelligence, critical capabilities insight and a deep understanding of the food manufacturing industry's unique functional requirements via ongoing research, regular software vendor briefings and project technology selections.

Our Clients

Ultra Consultant
lakeside foods
Deschutes Brewery logo
wellness pet
ERP Requirements Planning

Key Steps in Defining ERP Requirements:

1. Identify Your Pain Points:

Start by analyzing your current business processes and identifying areas that need improvement. Is your inventory management causing you sleepless nights? Are your financial reports a never-ending maze of confusion? By clearly understanding your pain points and business needs, you can address them head-on with your new ERP system.

2. Involve the Right People:

Gather a team of key stakeholders from different departments to ensure all voices are heard. This collaborative approach will provide a holistic perspective and help uncover ERP requirements that might have been overlooked otherwise. Remember, ERP requirements gathering is not solely the responsibility of an IT team.

3. Align with Business Goals:

Your ERP requirements should align with your broader business objectives. Define what success means to your organization and how an ERP system can help you achieve it. Whether it’s reducing costs, improving efficiency, or enhancing customer satisfaction, keep those goals front and center when completing the ERP requirements gathering process.

4. Prioritize and Document:

Once you have a comprehensive list of requirements, it’s time to prioritize them based on their impact and urgency. Not everything can be done at once, so focus on what will bring the most significant benefits to your business. Documenting these requirements will serve as a roadmap for your ERP selection process.

5. Evaluate and Test:

Next is evaluating and testing potential ERP systems. Use your defined requirements as a benchmark to compare different solutions. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors tough questions or request demos.

ERP Vendor Demonstrations: How Well Do They Meet ERP Requirements?

The demonstrations by ERP vendors should focus on future state business processes. Think of the ERP demonstration as a “day-in-the-life” process presentation. This is especially important for manufacturers and distributors.

The demonstration by the software provider starts with defining a product and then progresses through the following processes related to the ERP modules:

  • Sales process and customer data management
  • Planning process
  • Production process and manufacturing management
  • Shipment process and order management
  • Accounting process including financial management and reporting
  • Engineering process and product lifecycle management
  • Quality process
  • Warehouse management process and supply chain management
  • Human resources process

The ERP selection team grades each vendor on how well their system addresses the core business processes defined in the script. The presentation requires the ERP vendors to use the client data.

An important part of the evaluation is ease-of-use and access to information for each vendor. Treat these areas as general topics that should be understood at the front end of each presentation.

ERP Vendor Demonstrations

Ultra Consultants - Expert ERP Requirements Consulting

By taking the time to understand your needs and goals, you can set your business up for success with an ERP system that fits like a glove. Whether you're a small business looking to streamline operations or a large corporation seeking scalability, defining ERP requirements is an essential step towards harnessing the power of efficient business operations. Contact us today to get started outlining your ERP requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions about Defining ERP Requirements

ERP requirements are a set of specifications and features that an organization needs from their ERP system. These requirements can vary depending on the industry, company size, and specific business processes. It’s essential to identify and prioritize these requirements to ensure the selected ERP system meets your organization’s needs.
Defining ERP requirements is crucial because it sets the foundation for a successful ERP implementation. By clearly outlining what your organization needs, you can embark on software evaluation of potential ERP systems and ensure they align with your business goals. Without defined requirements, you risk selecting an ERP system that doesn’t meet your needs or overspending on unnecessary features.
A collaborative approach is key when defining ERP requirements. It’s important to involve stakeholders from different departments, including finance, operations, IT, and logistics. Each department can provide valuable insights into their specific needs and processes, ensuring a comprehensive set of requirements.
To start, gather a team of key stakeholders and focus on understanding your organization’s current processes and pain points. Conduct interviews and workshops to gather input from employees across various departments. Once you have a better understanding of your needs, document them in a clear and concise manner.

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Involve end-users: Include employees who will be using the ERP system on a day-to-day basis in the requirement-gathering process. Their input is invaluable in understanding what functionalities are essential for their roles and can aide in ERP solution adoption after implementation is complete.
  • Prioritize requirements: Not all requirements are created equal. It’s crucial to prioritize them based on their impact on your business processes and overall goals.
  • Keep it flexible: While it’s important to define requirements, leave room for flexibility. Technology and business needs evolve, so your requirements should be adaptable too.

To ensure your defined requirements are realistic, consider the following:

  • Budget: Assess your organization’s budget and determine what is feasible within your financial constraints.
  • Resources: Evaluate the resources available to implement and maintain the ERP system. Consider factors such as in-house expertise and the need for external consultants to maintain your new system.
  • Scalability: Think long-term and consider how your requirements may change as your organization grows. Ensure the core ERP system can accommodate future needs or rapid growth.

Yes, ERP requirements can change over time. As your organization evolves, new business processes may emerge, or existing processes may require modifications. It’s important to regularly review and update your requirements to ensure they remain aligned with your organization’s goals.

Once the requirements are defined, the next step is to evaluate potential ERP vendors and systems. Share your requirements with vendors and assess how well their systems meet your business requirements. This evaluation process should involve demonstrations, discussions, and reference checks to find the best fit for your organization.

Industry Insights

Exploring industry insights highlights how ERP solutions empower manufacturers and distributors, streamlining operations and compliance.

Continuous Process Improvement Model: Benefits & Methods

To stay competitive, constantly adapting and improving business processes is critical. One powerful strategy that…

The Power of Business Process Efficiency

Reducing operational costs, improving production and delivery, making decisions based on real and factual data…

Benefits of Business Process Management

Business process management helps organizations define and improve efficiency and increases agility in business decision-making.

Scroll to Top

Contact Our Team.