Digital business transformation promises operational efficiencies, streamlined processes, and integrated data analytics. However, the path to realizing these benefits is fraught with challenges, complexities, and decisions that can overwhelm even the most experienced teams. 

This is where the expertise of an ERP consultant becomes invaluable. 

Today, we’re arming you with the insights necessary to choose an ERP consultant for your digital transformation.

How to Choose an ERP Consultant

1. Ensure the ERP Consultant is Technology Agnostic​

While you may want a well-known ERP system, like an SAP or Oracle platform, you shouldn’t rule out other systems that may meet your business requirements. 

You’ll never know what you’re missing unless you hire a consultant with the freedom to recommend any system. An independent ERP consultant has no financial ties to a particular vendor and is only interested in the client’s success.

Preferred partners, on the other hand, are tied to specific vendors. Their revenue model depends on selling or servicing particular systems. 

This is typically the case with any VAR or large consulting company specializing in just a few enterprise systems. These software consultants charge based on how much savings they negotiate on your behalf. This is a rigged approach that is easily gamed by software vendors.

In contrast, independent firms typically have a proven ERP negotiation methodology developed from years of experience with hundreds of software solutions.

An independent consultant should not necessarily recommend that your organization implement enterprise software in the first place. In fact, if your organization’s business processes are inefficient, a consultant should not recommend a system until you improve your processes.

Independent ERP consultants understand that no system, no matter how advanced, automatically fixes inefficient processes.

2024 Clash of the Titans

SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and Infor each have a variety of systems that can support data-driven decision making. We surveyed customers of these four vendors to find out what their selection and implementation process was like.

2. Understand the ERP Consultant’s Methodology

A proven methodology is one that has been developed from “boots on the ground” operational experience. Typically, ERP consulting services that are based on a proven methodology holistically focus on people, processes, technology, and data. 

Look for a consultant that employs a proven selection and implementation process that involves activities such as:

  • Conducting a readiness assessment
  • Ensuring executive buy-in and steering committee involvement
  • Developing an information strategy so you know what data you need from your business systems
  • Scripting software demos so they focus on your specific needs
  • Developing a data migration strategy to ensure seamless transfer of your business data to the new system
  • Setting KPIs and using them to track benefits realization post go-live
  • Ensuring ongoing support, training, and continuous improvement post go-live

3. Ensure the ERP Consultant has a Wide Breadth of Industry Experience

You might find the consulting firm has experience with organizations similar to yours, or you might find that the firm specializes in only one market.

The best consultants have a “chameleon” mentality. That is, they can blend in and adapt to whatever environment in which they are working. 

They are able to do this because they have hands-on experience tackling the same challenges across a variety of industries. This mentality enables consultants to suggest best practices from outside your industry that could bring competitive advantage to your business.

4. Find Consultants Who are a Good Cultural Fit

A firm may claim to be ERP Implementation experts. Their references may check out, and they may have a professional website that says all the right things.

But what about the individual consultants who will be staffing your project? The people who will be moving in, setting up shop, and working side-by-side with your employees for months at a time? Shouldn’t you know a little more about them and their cultural fit? 

In order to uncover landmines that may be hidden behind a firm’s stellar references, it’s important to insist on a resume from everyone who will be involved in your project – especially those who will be on site. To assess cultural fit, consider including team meet-and-greets in the selection process.

For example, many organizations today are trying to develop a culture of continuous improvement. To continue in this direction, these organizations should look for a consultant with a collaborative mindset.

This means they have experience collaborating with process owners across departments to understand pain points and define future state business processes. At the same time, they place a high value on stakeholder input and innovative thinking.

5. Find Consultants Who Can Validate Project Deliverables

Your consultant should review your ERP project plan to ensure it’s realistic and includes all necessary components.

Software vendors don’t always have a complete understanding of the components required to make your initiative successful in the long-term. In fact, they might minimize the project timeline and budget to make their proposal more attractive. 

We’ve even done ERP project recovery for clients whose consultants were trying to accelerate implementation because it helped the vendor sell more software licenses. 

The right consultant will help you develop a realistic implementation timeline and budget based on the scope and complexity of your project.

6. Find Consultants With Software Expert Witness Experience

Your consultant should be well-rounded and have a breadth of ERP expertise.

Look for consultants who have worked on not only ERP selection projects but also software expert witness cases. This ensures they have a comprehensive understanding of common risk factors and how to avoid ERP failure.

For example, it’s not unheard of for software demos to contain “future-state” features that don’t exist in the current software. Vendors are giving you a glimpse of what might exist in the next release, even if this isn’t what will be available when you make your purchase.

When evaluating ERP solutions, you need someone by your side who is mitigating all the software selection and project management pitfalls that might arise.

One of the Best ERP Consulting Firms: Panorama​

Organizations that hire the right ERP consultant will experience the many benefits of third-party guidance, including objectivity, innovation, and well-rounded ERP expertise.

Panorama’s ERP consulting team is technology-agnostic. We conduct a thorough ERP selection, and then we adapt our implementation approach to your unique business needs. 

Schedule a free consultation below to learn more.

Posts You May Like:

Overcoming Data Quality Issues in Implementing an ERP System

Overcoming Data Quality Issues in Implementing an ERP System

Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is an important step for organizations hoping to integrate their processes in a single platform. However, the journey can be fraught with challenges, notably data quality issues that can impact the...