Blog How to create an effective ERP Request for Proposal

How to create an effective ERP Request for Proposal


If you organization is in need of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or is upgrading an existing one, selecting the right vendor with the right attributes to meet your ERP specific requirements is crucial. Sending a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an ERP system to vendors will help you to narrow down your selection.

The quality of proposals you receive will be only as good as your RFP. Writing a top RFP for an ERP system can be a challenging and time-consuming task, but with proper planning and attention to detail, it is achievable. It’s absolutely essential to get your RFP right, so in this article you can find out about the basics of an RFP for ERP, its essential components, and tips to keep in mind when writing an RFP. 


What is an ERP Request for Proposal? 

An ERP Request for Proposal is a document that organizations use to solicit proposals from vendors for an ERP system. It typically includes specific requirements and specifications for an ERP system, evaluation criteria that will be used to select a vendor, a deadline, a value proposition and instructions on how to submit the proposal.


How do RFPs work? 

The RFP process begins with identifying the issues you are looking to solve with a new ERP. This step includes evaluating the current situation of your company, communicating with stakeholders, identifying pain points, and gathering your requirements. Then, the next step is drafting your RFP – you can find a detailed look into what you should include in your RFP further along in the article.

Once the RFP is written, it is then submitted to shortlisted ERP vendors who are invited to respond with a proposal. The bidders receive and review the RFP and submit improvement suggestions. After implementing feedback, the final proposal is submitted. The customer then narrows the selection down and enters negotiations on pricing and technical details. The customer might ask remaining bidders to submit a best and final offer. 


Benefits of creating an effective RFP 

Organizations across all industries regularly use RFPs for their projects as it allows them to obtain vendor proposals in a clear and comprehensive format, helping them easily compare various vendors and get the information they need to make the right decision.

Here are some of the numerous benefits of creating an effective RFP.


Clarification of requirements

An RFP enables an organization to clearly define its requirements for an ERP system, including functionality, features and support. This process helps to ensure that all stakeholders understand the requirements and can provide input into the selection process. 


Improved vendor selection

By using an RFP, organizations will be able to clearly understand the capabilities of vendors and compare them one with another. This will help you better choose the vendor that fits your project.

Read on: How to select the right ERP system.


Better value for money

Inviting multiple vendors increases competition, which means you may able to negotiate better terms with prospective vendors and get the best possible value for money.


Standardization of evaluation criteria

An RFP allows your organization to standardize its evaluation criteria for each vendor proposal, making it easier to compare and to select the best solution for the organization.  


Vendor accountability

An RFP can help establish clear expectations for the vendor, including timelines, deliverables, and performance requirements.


Risk mitigation

When it comes to enterprise-level software like an ERP, getting it wrong can be costly. By issuing an RFP and thoroughly evaluating each proposal, an organization can reduce the risk of selecting and ERP system that does not meet its needs or does not perform as expected. 


Reduced implementation time and costs

An RFP for an ERP system can reduce implementation time and cost by providing a clear framework for the selection and implementation of the ERP system, ensuring that the project is delivered on time and within budget, and minimizing the risk of delays and cost overruns.  



When you use an RFP, vendors only submit information that is requested. All vendors have access to the same information, resulting in an RFP process that is transparent and without bias. This makes evaluating the criteria easy and allows your organization to make an informed decision.


Essential components of an ERP RFP  

While the details of your ERP RFP may vary depending on your organization and your specific project, there are 9 essential components that you should include to make sure you can get all the information you need. Remember that the quality of the proposals you receive is determined by the information you request, so this step is key.


Background of current business processes

Examine the business processes you have in place and identify what needs to change. The changes should be realistic and measurable. Define each pain-point of each process that requires a change and outline the benefits you would like to see after those changes.     


Scope of work

Specify what tasks the ERP system will be responsible for and the expected results, as well as what is outside its scope so you don’t purchase something you don’t need. Include a detailed plan, including the timeline and cost from purchasing to implementation. This is where you clearly establish the duties and responsibilities of the vendor. 


Technical requirements

Create a detailed must-have list of requirements and technical specifications you need in an ERP system. Importantly, you should include the specific hardware and software requirements of the system and the required integrations. For example, you may want the ERP to work with apps that your organization is already using, or you may be looking specifically for a cloud-based ERP.


Functional requirements

Specify the capability of the ERP system and what it should do. For example, you may require reporting requirements, authentication, administrative functions, historical data, authorization levels, or any variety of features. It is a good idea to order them by priority so that you can easily check how they align with your business strategy.

Read on: 3 unique features your ERP solution should have.


Implementation requirements

You should also specify the necessary conditions that must be met in order to successfully implement the ERP system, such as necessary hardware, software and infrastructure needed such as servers, network connections and databases. You may consider organizational factors as well, like changes to the organization’s structure and staff training. 


Vendor qualification criteria

In this section, you should specify the criteria a vendor must meet to be considered for the project, such as experience, financial stability, and references. 


Contract terms and conditions

Ask about the terms and conditions that apply to a particular vendor and software, and for a cost break-down based on the number of users, add-ons, implementation, and maintenance. 


Proposal format

The most common RFP format consists of a cover letter, a request for proposal, a description of the system required, a list of evaluation criteria, and instructions for submitting the proposal.  



Finally, the appendices allow you to provide additional relevant information that does not fit in the main body of the text, such as technical descriptions, attached templates or sample documents. 


5 tips for creating an effective ERP RFP 

Including the requirements above will give you the essential points you need to craft an RFP for an ERP. However, in order to get the best deal for your organization, you need to make sure that the information you request is as clear as possible. Following these 5 tips will help you make the most out of your RFP, and ultimately help you get the information you need.


1. Clearly define the scope 

A clear understanding of what you want your ERP system to achieve will help you communicate your needs effectively to potential vendors. This will also help ensure that vendors are able to submit proposals that are aligned with your requirements, which will save you time and effort during the selection process.


2. Be specific with your requirements 

The more specific your requirements are, the more accurate your responses will be. Vendors need to know exactly what features and functionality are needed in order to provide an accurate proposal. Being specific about your requirements will also help you avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications later on in the selection process.


3. Set a realistic budget and timeline 

Be sure to consider all costs associated with implementing and maintaining the ERP system, including licensing fees, hardware and software costs, training and support, and any additional resources that may be needed. Additionally, be sure to establish a realistic timeline for the implementation process, taking into account any potential delays or issues that may arise. Setting a realistic budget and timeline will help you avoid any surprises or unexpected expenses down the road.


4. Research vendors 

Researching potential vendors is a key step in the RFP process. Take the time to evaluate each vendor's experience, expertise, and reputation in the industry. Look for vendors that have experience implementing ERP systems in similar industries or with similar requirements. Additionally, consider the vendor's track record for delivering projects on time and within budget. Doing your due diligence and researching potential vendors will help ensure that you select a vendor that is capable of meeting your needs and delivering a successful ERP implementation.


5. Provide clear evaluation criteria

Providing clear evaluation criteria is essential to ensuring that you are able to compare and evaluate proposals from different vendors effectively. Consider the specific factors that are most important to you, such as cost, functionality, scalability, ease of use, and support. Clearly define these criteria in your RFP, along with any weighting or prioritization that will be used in the evaluation process. This will help ensure that you are able to make an informed decision based on the factors that are most important to you. 



In short, an ERP RFP provides a clear and structured way for the organization to communicate their requirements, expectations, and evaluation criteria to potential vendors. The RFP process help ensure that your organization receives proposals that meet its needs, and that vendors understand the requirements and constraints of the organization.

What’s more, submitting a clear, well-crafted RFP will ensure that the ERP proposals you receive in return are equally as transparent and informative, ultimately putting you in the position to choose the best solution for your business.


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