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We interviewed Ian Doubleday, Manager of Client Services at Panorama, to find out what it’s like to be an ERP consultant. Ian also answered some common questions about how to find a good ERP consultant for your digital transformation initiative.

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What makes a good ERP consultant?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are a number of factors that become important depending on the nature of your project. A few that come to mind include industry experience, cultural fit, professionalism and integrity. A good ERP consultant will give you hard truths even when they’re difficult to hear. This is one thing that makes my job as a consultant very rewarding since I have the opportunity to affect change.

What is the role of an ERP consultant?

It’s important for an ERP consultant to serve as a trusted advisor to a client. This means that the consultant brings an outside, independent perspective, and becomes an expert in the client’s organization. The consultant brings value that the organization might not see on its own.

What is the biggest challenge for an ERP consultant?

One of the challenges of being an ERP consultant is the variation between different clients. It can be a struggle to move from one organization to the next when you’ve spent so much time learning about an organization’s culture, people and processes. Shifting to a new project can be a little bit jarring, but it always keeps the job interesting.

Do you have a success story to share?

One story that emphasizes the importance of ERP consultants as well as organizational change management is my experience working with a large organization looking to implement a new accounting system. The controller had been working with an incumbent system for more than ten years, and truly believed that there was no other product on the face of the planet that would come close to meeting her needs. This clearly represented a challenge as the controller is influential in any organization. This needed to be overcome in order to have a successful project moving forward with a new system that would not only meet business needs but acquire buy-in from all stakeholders.

To address this challenge, we took it in chunks. We made sure that we weren’t trying to force any decision on the controller, and we invited the organization to come along with us through the journey of looking at different enterprise systems. We arranged detailed vendor demos that focused on the particular functionality that addressed the organization’s business requirements. After looking at several ERP systems and asking many questions, the controller became a staunch supporter of one ERP system in particular. I think of that as a success story of managing change without being overly pushy.

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