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Requirements specification for ERP evaluation: Useful or unnecessary?


ERP requirements specification

Selecting a suitable ERP solution is crucial for companies to optimize their business processes and make them more efficient. In this context, the question arises as to whether a requirement specification makes sense when evaluating ERP solutions. In this article we will examine the advantages and disadvantages of a requirement specification and at the end we will make a recommendation for companies.

 

The importance of the requirements specification in ERP evaluation

 A specification serves as a comprehensive specification of the requirements placed on an ERP solution. It lays the foundation for selecting the right system and facilitates communication between stakeholders. Here are some reasons why a requirement specification can be useful:

 

  1. Clear definition of requirements: The requirements specification makes it possible to record the requirements for the ERP solution in detail and precisely. This prevents misunderstandings and minimizes the likelihood of misinterpretations.

  2. Transparency and comparability: A requirement specification creates transparency by structuring the evaluation process and making the different ERP solutions comparable with each other. This makes it easier to select the optimal system for a company's specific needs.

  3. Increasing efficiency in the selection process: By clearly defining the requirements, unsuitable ERP solutions can be sorted out at an early stage. This makes the selection process more efficient and increases the likelihood of finding a solution that meets the company's needs.

 

The disadvantages of a requirement specification in ERP evaluation

Despite the advantages, using a requirement specification also presents some challenges:

 

  1. Rigid structure: A specification specifies the requirements in a fixed structure. This can lead to innovative solutions that are not included in the specifications being overlooked. Companies run the risk of limiting themselves to predefined criteria and neglecting innovative approaches.

  2. Time-consuming: Creating a comprehensive specification requires time and resources. In a rapidly changing business environment, this time-consuming approach could result in ERP solutions becoming outdated before the specifications are even completed.

  3. Loss of flexibility: A requirement specification that is too detailed can lead to a loss of flexibility. Companies may have difficulty responding to changing requirements or new market conditions because the ERP solution is already tailored to the criteria specified in the specifications.

 

What goes into a specification sheet?

 A carefully prepared specification should contain all relevant information to enable an informed decision when selecting an ERP solution. These include:

 

  • General information: This includes information about the company, the scope of the project, the stakeholders involved and the time frame.

  • Goals and requirements: Clear definition of the goals that should be achieved with the implementation of the ERP solution. This also includes specific requirements for features, performance and scalability.

  • User Requirements: Description of end user requirements to ensure that the ERP solution is user-friendly and effective.

  • Technical requirements: Determination of technical specifications, such as hardware requirements, integration options and security standards.

  • Budget and Schedule: Indicates the available budget and the planned implementation time frame.

  • Risk assessment: Identification of potential risks in connection with the implementation and use of the ERP solution as well as appropriate measures to reduce risks.

  • Selection criteria: Determination of the criteria that should be taken into account when evaluating and selecting the ERP solution.

 

A balanced specification should not only contain detailed requirements, but also leave enough room for flexibility and adjustments to meet the changing needs of the company.

 

Our recommendation: A balanced approach

Despite these challenges, it is not advisable to completely forego a requirement specification. A balanced approach could be the solution. Here are some recommendations:

 

  • Record basic requirements in the specifications: Important and fundamental requirements should be clearly defined in the specifications in order to provide orientation during the selection. 

  • Maintain flexibility: The specifications should leave enough scope for flexibility. It should not be so restrictive that it excludes innovative solutions and adaptations.

  • Regular updating: The specification should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that it meets current requirements and developments.

 

Conclusion:

A requirement specification is definitely useful in ERP evaluation, as long as it is viewed as a guide and not as a rigid set of rules. A flexible approach allows companies to consider innovative solutions while meeting their fundamental needs. The ERP solution that is ultimately chosen should not only meet the criteria set out in the specifications, but also offer the flexibility to adapt to future needs

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