ERP implementations are frequently run by project managers with little ERP implementation experience. Many of these project managers refuse to contract with ERP consultants. As a result, organizations struggle to differentiate between various ERP vendor proposals. When they do finally implement an ERP system, they struggle to realize the full benefits of digital technology.
Clearly, these project managers could use third-party guidance. However, finding a reliable implementation partner is no easy task. Here are four tips for finding a trusted partner for your ERP implementation:
1. Ensure the ERP Consultant is Technology Agnostic
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Preferred partners, on the other hand, are tied to specific vendors. In other words, a preferred partner’s revenue model depends on selling or servicing particular systems. This is typically the case with any VAR or large consulting firm specializing in just a few ERP systems. When it comes to smaller systems, it is the vendors themselves who sell and implement these systems.
While you may want a large ERP system, like SAP or Oracle, you shouldn’t rule out other systems that meet your business requirements. You’ll never know what you’re missing unless you hire an ERP consultant with the freedom to recommend any system.
Another benefit of hiring an independent ERP consultant like Panorama Consulting? These firms typically have a proven vendor negotiation methodology developed from years of experience with hundreds of ERP vendors.
2. Understand the ERP Consultant’s Methodology
When evaluating ERP consulting firms, you should understand their methodologies and where those methodologies come from. Many consulting firms use canned methodologies from various business training organizations. Few consulting firms have taken the time to leverage their learning into their own methodologies.
Your consultant’s methodologies should holistically focus on people, processes and technology. As more organizations pursue digital transformation rather than traditional ERP implementations, the need for a holistic approach is becoming clearer.
You should also consider whether the consultant’s methodology is flexible enough to fit your needs. For example, some organizations need a business process management approach that focuses on improving individual processes. Others need a business process management approach that focuses on streamlining end-to-end processes. Panorama has expertise in both approaches.
The truth is, methodologies should evolve as technology evolves. Organizations now expect more from their technology and want an innovative implementation partner.
3. Ensure the ERP Consultant has a Wide Breadth of Industry Experience
A key part of every request for proposal is the section on “prior industry experience.” You might find the consulting firm has experience with organizations similar to yours. However, consultants that specialize in only one market can be myopic in their focus.
The ideal ERP consulting firm leverages best practices from many industries. Its consultants are operational experts with hands-on experience tackling the same challenges their clients are facing.
4. Determine the Level of Diversity Within the Consulting Team
People with different backgrounds approach problems from different perspectives. This diversity can help you build competitive advantage. ERP project managers know this and staff their teams with employees from different departments while ensuring they have different skill sets. Why haven’t ERP consulting firms followed suit?
Many consultants bring the same team of resources to each pitch and presentation, regardless of cultural fit. Everyone on the team has worked in the same handful of companies and views the world through the same eyes. Where are the differing opinions and skills necessary to transform your organization? Where is the global understanding needed to improve your competitive advantage?
The top ERP consultants use diverse project resources who collaborate face-to-face to help each organization achieve its strategic vision.
Who Will You Hire?
For those who have never evaluated ERP consultants, the sheer amount of information can quickly prove overwhelming. These tips should help you understand what factors to consider when interviewing and hiring an implementation partner.
Will you hire the consulting firm that uses a predictable methodology and recommends a predictable ERP vendor? Or will you hire the consulting firm that thinks outside the box?