Picking the wrong ERP system or integration partner is no way to kick off a complex ERP implementation project.

If you miss key functional requirements, the software won't meet your business needs. If you miss key technical requirements, the software won't meet integration, accessibility, performance, or other such needs. If you don't assess implementation services properly, you could end up with an under or over-scoped, over-priced, or poorly executed implementation project. And, if you don't negotiate the right deal, you could end up with over-priced software, an improper services work scope, or inadequate legal protection rights.

The bottom line is this: you need to properly structure your ERP selection and contract negotiations projects to make sure nothing falls between the cracks. The key areas you'll want to evaluate span software, technology, cost, vendor viability, implementation services, and support services. They're conveniently set out in the following chart.

ERP Selection Categories

Here's an easy-to-follow ERP selection and contract negotiations checklist to help you cross your 'Ts' and dot your 'Is'.

ERP Selection and Contract Negotiations Checklist

Business Requirements Definition

  1. We defined short term and long term business process needs
  2. We defined short term and long term reporting, analytic, and intelligence needs
  3. We defined any technological needs, constraints, and integration needs
  4. We defined ERP budget needs for software, implementation, and support
  5. We defined human capital support needs for implementation and post-implementation support

Procurement - RFP

  1. We based our RFP on our defined functional and technical requirements
  2. No vendor helped us define our ERP selection requirements
  3. No vendor helped us draft our request for proposal
  4. No vendor helped us evaluate the proposals
  5. All participating vendors were given equal opportunity to respond
  6. Our selection consultant (if we used one) is unbiased, knowledgeable about business and systems, and has extensive hands-on, in-the-trenches implementation experience

Software Functionality and Technology

  1. The software was successfully demonstrated according to our key business and technology requirements, including functionality, master data, technology platform, and system performance
  2. We are not simply taking the vendor's "promise" of capability, we are requiring actual demonstrations
  3. We are satisfied with the vendor's plan to fill any functionality gaps
  4. Our key departmental users participated in the demonstrations and are satisfied
  5. Based on reference checks with companies like ours, we are satisfied that the software is capable of delivering the functionality we require

Long-Term Fit - Vendor and Software Development

  1. The vendor is likely to be around for the long-term to develop and support the software
  2. The software is strategically important to the vendor and will likely continue to be a development priority
  3. Based on reference checks with companies like ours, we are satisfied that the vendor will provide us with the level of future support we require

Implementation Partner Due Diligence

  1. Our selected implementation partner has a track record of success with companies like ours
  2. Our selected implementation partner works according to a proven implementation methodology
  3. Our selected implementation partner has proposed a reasonable implementation plan
  4. Our selected implementation partner is a good fit with both senior management and our end-users
  5. Based on reference checks with companies like ours, we are satisfied that our implementation partner will deliver a successful project

Contractual Rights and Obligations

  1. We understand all of our financial obligations under the contract
  2. We have negotiated discounts that will allow us to accelerate our ROI
  3. We have negotiated terms and conditions that incentivize the vendors and service providers to deliver implementation success
  4. We have negotiated non-monetary terms that protect and extend our legal interests
  5. We understand that these contracts define the terms of a 10-plus year relationship, and we fully understand our right and obligations

Take this checklist, write it down, and follow it. It's an easy and convenient way to pick the right ERP system and service providers.