ERP Software Selection Criteria and Vendor Checklist

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are a valuable tool for any organization, and they can have an impact on every single part of your business. These highly sought after enterprise applications help manage activities including planning, research & development, purchasing, supply chain management, sales and marketing. There are countless ERP systems available, so it’s crucial that you make the right ERP choice that fits your organization.

If you’ve seen our ultimate cheat sheet for enterprise resource planning (ERP) requirements, you’ll know that there are many factors that can go into the decision-making process when choosing an ERP vendor. Since deploying an ERP system can be an expensive and time-consuming process, you need to make the right choice by deciding which factors are the most important for your organization.

Recommended: Get A Free ERP Requirements Template

What is the vendor’s situation and reputation?

Consider the following factors when comparing ERP systems, and the vendors that provide them, to see if they are a good partner for your business:

What technologies does the ERP solution offer?

Consider the following factors when you’re ready to compare ERP or are actively performing your ERP selection process:

What are the system’s functionalities and ease of use?

What will the true cost of the ERP solution be?

What kind of support and training will be provided?

Consider the following factors when evaluating the support and training offered by the vendor:

ERP Selection Process and Quick Start Guide

Now that you’ve had a chance to think about some of the key ERP selection criteria you should consider when buying an ERP, what is the next step?

Chances are that you are very methodical when it comes to the software selection process for your company. When choosing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, being meticulous is the only way to go. Making the right choice for your ERP system will improve your business’s operations, automate most data-driven processes, and integrate your entire infrastructure. While a failed ERP implementation can be very damaging to your business.

Fortunately, you can reduce some of the workload, and much of your risk, with this simple quick-start ERP software selection process. This easy to follow five-stage approach helps you determine your business needs, research solutions, evaluate solutions, select a good vendor and negotiate a great contract.

If you want to select ERP software correctly, you should not just consider features that will let you manage the company’s finances, long-term projects, inventory and databases, but go through the formal ERP selection process as follows:

Requirements and Research

During this stage, you determine what your business needs from an ERP system. This will help you decide whether ERP is the right fit for your business.

Requirements Gathering

When evaluating business requirements, keep in mind that ERP’s greatest advantages lie in comprehensive data analysis, thorough and accurate reporting functions, and multiple process automation capabilities. We’ve outlined some excellent questions to ask above as well as in this ERP requirements list. Here are some additional ideas:

Preliminary Research

Armed with your specific business requirements, you can now perform preliminary research to see which ERP system meets your needs. You can do most of this research online, but you can also contact ERP vendors and seek informed opinions from colleagues who use ERP software systems. Also consider ERP consultants as an additional resources to find the right fit for your business.

Vendor Comparison And Sourcing

Informal Enquiries

Use the information you’ve obtained from requirements gathering and research to help you get relevant, informative answers from potential vendors. This makes it very easy to determine whether a vendor fits your needs.

ERP Vendor Recommendations

If you’re curious who is leading the way in the ERP market, here’s an ERP software comparison leaderboard. Vendors included:

Epicor ERP 10

Epicor’s latest ERP platform offers a more complete and simple interface for both employees and suppliers. The platform also has additional functionality and responsiveness across multiple mobile devices for faster and more comprehensive collaboration. On-premise, cloud or hosted deployments are available.

IFS Full Suite ERP

IFS’s ERP Solution is an innovative player in the ERP market. While some ERP suites are complex and difficult to use, IFS has simplified functionality for enterprise project management (EPM) and enterprise asset management (EAM).

In addition, this ERP suite can be configured for a broad range of intensive manufacturing, aerospace and even engineering settings. IFS handles even the most demanding tasks gracefully.

Infor ERP SyteLine

Infor ERP is best suited for large, industrial enterprises like manufacturers and large-scale distributors. It’s unparalleled scalability allows for efficient expansion or compartmentalization. Its cloud-based deployment offers adaptability and advanced planning capabilities for even the most complicated business processes.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Microsoft’s ERP solution is ideal for large, global enterprises. Its core functionality provides streamlined business processes and supports both single instance and two-tier deployment methods, even across international corporations. This powerful software is goal-driven and perfect for any thriving business.

Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne

Oracle’s latest ERP platform aims to deliver high-quality technology for managing every aspect of your company’s finances. With EnterpriseOne, financial management is streamlined helping increase financial accuracy. It allows for hands-on project cost management from start to finish. It also integrates features like asset management and real-time operational reporting to ensure organizations maximizes profitability. We found that this version outperformed Oracle E-Business suite across 20 key business and operational requirements.

Sage ERP X3

Sage ERP is ideal for SMBs and SMEs. The platform’s speed and flexibility allows businesses to increase efficiency and accelerate core business processes. Being a cloud ERP and available on mobile platforms, Sage X3 allows for easy and more timely collaboration. It’s cloud deployment is easy to implement and quick to change, which is ideal for any business looking to maximize growth and profitability.

SAP Business ByDesign

SAP’s ERP, tailored for mid-sized businesses, is a complete, integrated suite that can run your whole enterprise – financials, human resources, sales, procurement, customer service, and supply chain. A web-based ERP with exceptional mobile deployment allows for increased efficiency as well as 24/7 for increased efficiency as well as 24/7 access to analytics and reporting. SAP’s monitored data centers ensure your high security of your organization’s sensitive information.


SYSPRO 7 is a top ERP solution for any organization with it’s primary benefit being able to capture large amounts of data in a highly-optimized user interface. It works in both network and mobile platforms, offering 24/7/365 access to the entire ERP suite. It has an increased degree of customization throughout each of its applications, allowing your business to design a custom interface for your unique needs.


To continue your ERP vendor selection, once you’ve gathered a list of promising ERP applications, send RFx documents — formal requests for proposals, quotes and other information — to your selected vendors.

Technical Validation

Once you’ve submitted information requests to the vendors and received responses, it’s time to thoroughly evaluate the available ERP systems.

Technical Evaluation Scorecards

Tech evaluation scorecards are an invaluable tool when it comes to selecting ERP software. Comprehensive scorecards accurately and thoroughly evaluate ERP systems, providing a detailed breakdown of every function and capability. You should assess the ERP system along at least four perspectives: cost, supporting user needs, improvement of internal processes and flexibility.

Demos and Proof of Concept

After you’ve narrowed down your list of vendors by using tech eval scorecards and proposal information, request demos from the vendors. It’s very important to see an ERP system in action, and a reputable vendor won’t have any trouble arranging a thorough demonstration. In addition to demos, request documentation that addresses how the ERP system will meet your business needs.
For further help during the demo process, here are some questions to ask during an ERP demo to ensure the software is the right fit for your company:

Can the software be implemented in phases?

Panorama has reported that 61 percent of ERP executions are more prolonged than expected. Implementing ERP software in stages will help improve operations without disturbing the flow of business. It will also allow training to occur in separate stages, allowing most of the company to function as usual as one area or department is focusing on learning how to use and manage the ERP.

How are technical problems handled?

One virus can wipe out an entire program. Find out how the vendor handles malfunctions and service interruptions. If the vendor provides comprehensive troubleshooting guidance, the company’s IT department can often resolve problems without waiting for support from the vendor.

How is training handled?

Will the company need to create and provide all of its employees with training, or does the vendor offer training? Find out what the cost of training will be. You’ll win out if you minimize the cost of training but maximize its effectiveness. ERP software won’t benefit the company if nobody knows how to use it correctly.

What are the costs of hardware and software replacements and updates?

Part of managing the cost versus benefits of ERP software involves uncovering any hidden costs. During an ERP demo, find out how likely it is that the hardware (if applicable) will need to be replaced and in what time frame. Ask about what is involved in regular maintenance so you can decide whether it can be handled in-house or by the vendor. Inquire about the costs of updating the software as well.

What features does the software have for managing inventory and logistics?

For many companies, reducing the amount of time that employees spend working on inventory and shipping can greatly improve efficiency. Find out if the software can provide alerts when inventory is stocked incorrectly or when a particular product is low. Can the software automatically calculate the most economical shipping method depending on where a shipment is going? If inventory management can be handled automatically, it can free up valuable resources to increase productivity in other areas of the business.

Can the software streamline customer service?

Find out how the software can be used to simplify your customer service needs. Many ERP platforms can analyze client data to help not only the customer service department, but also the marketing and sales departments.

How can the software be used in the human resources department?

An ideal ERP will help you manage an employee from the time he or she is hired. Being able to access policies and procedures, timesheets, payroll and training systems in one place can help those in the human resources department increase their productivity.

What are the mobile capabilities of the software?

If your company operates out of various offices or if your sales team travels regularly, it is essential for the ERP to be accessible from outside the office. Check out the ease of the mobile interface and find out what teams can benefit from this accessibility. Ask about the security of the software when accessed from a mobile device.

How long should the ERP last?

According to e2b teknologies, the average ERP lasts about 7 to 10 years. Find out how long the ERP will work for your company so you can budget for upgrades and better forecast growth.

ERP software can pull everything that’s going on in the different departments of a company together without much additional manpower. During an enterprise resourcing planning software demo, make sure you ask the right questions to ensure that the ERP has the exact capabilities your company needs.

Financial Due Diligence

Business Case Review

Evaluate the capabilities and cost of an ERP system against your business processes and needs, your organization’s budget and the projected savings to ensure that the ERP system will benefit your business financially, and that it is financially viable at this time. Budgeting concerns and expenses ultimately determine the long-term viability of an ERP system.
Consider what the true cost of ownership of implementing an ERP project will be. Will fees be one-time or recurring? If recurring, will they be annual or monthly fees? What are the costs of installing the solution on-premises versus in the cloud? What would the estimated costs be to update the software if your business underwent a restructuring? Also consider whether the vendor will provide support and training during and after the installation, which may affect your costs.

Evaluating Potentially Hidden Expenses

Before choosing an ERP, you should calculate the costs of replacing hardware, updating the software program and performing routine maintenance. Proprietors frequently evaluate expenses that are related to helping inexperienced representatives to use the software and connecting the system to existing equipment.

Vendor Viability and References

Before investing in an ERP system, ensure potential ERP software vendors are responsible and respected within the industry. You may want to perform additional research at this point. If you haven’t already, request information from the vendor’s other clients and seek opinions from people within your professional network.

Contract Negotiation and Close

After you’ve chosen your vendor, received your quote, reviewed your proposal and completed your case review, it’s time to negotiate your contract. Approach negotiations confidently, armed with your business needs, required ERP capabilities and financial constraints.
This strategy allows you to easily find and select your ideal ERP system. While it may be time-consuming and labor-intensive, your meticulous ERP selection process will pay off. Before long, you’ll find the perfect ERP solution for your business. ERP system selection is a complex process – use our technical evaluation scorecards to get started.

ERP Selection Considerations

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are a valuable tool for any organization, and they can have an impact on every single part of your business. These highly sought after enterprise applications help manage activities including planning, research & development, purchasing, supply chain management, sales and marketing. There are countless ERP systems available, so it’s crucial that you make the right ERP choice that fits your organization. Our fast track ERP comparison guide above provides a quick roadmap to get you started.

Determine the answer to the above questions for each of the ERP software vendors you’re considering and then follow the step-by-step process we’ve outlined. Only you can know what the most important ERP selection criteria are for your organization, so carefully reflect and manage your ERP selection project.

Recommended: Get A Free ERP Requirements Template