Proposals are the first legal documents in an average selection process. These documents give you insights into your out-of-pocket costs for the various aspects of an ERP implementation. Proposals also give you indications on the amount of work that needs to be done and the project planning.
They include the legal conditions of the software licenses and the professional services. They also indicate the support you can expect when you go live. Unfortunately, most ERP proposals are rather incomplete. Oftentimes, they aren’t clear enough to get a complete picture of your investments, your efforts and your risks.
Here are 3 tips for better proposals.
1. What is out-of-scope?
ERP vendors typically describe in their proposals what their offerings include. They will show you a list of functionalities, modules and functional domains. However, in your role as an (often inexperienced) buyer, it’s far from easy to understand the impact. The risks of making assumptions are immense because once you’ve found out what you’ve really bought, it might be too late to change.
To avoid problems, consider asking your vendors to describe which domains and functionalities are explicitly not covered: i.e. what is ‘out of scope’. An additional advantage may be that you are less likely to be tempted to expand the scope during implementation.
2. What are your tasks?
It makes sense to follow a similar approach when it comes to professional services. You will, of course, need the specific knowledge and experiences of your preferred implementation partner. Think about project management, technical consultancy, business consultancy, change consultancy, development and training. But these offerings don’t mean much to you if you don’t know which part of the necessary activities is your responsibility.
Consider asking your vendors for an overview that shows all the activities necessary for a full implementation, including go-live support and go-live after support. It’s also important to demand a formal ‘task split’. Which part is their responsibility? And which part is yours? That will give you more insights into the capacity, the cost and the efforts required from your side.
3. What are your risks?
The third aspect concerns project risks. We all know that implementing new software comes with risk. – in the same way that it’s quite risky to not modernise your ERP software! These risks can be split into two parts: the generic risks and the ones that are specific to your organisation. You can benefit from the long-term experience of your vendors by asking them for proper risk analysis. And have an in-depth discussion with your preferred vendor on how to handle these risks before signing any contract.
Improving the quality and relevance of your Request for Proposals can help you to gain better insights into the proposal of your preferred vendor. These insights will be sure to lead to a bigger chance for project success!
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