There is no denying that choosing an ERP implementation partner is a decision fraught with worry, concern and skepticism. For those who have never had to evaluate third-party implementation partners, the sheer amount of information to wade through can prove overwhelming. Worse still, points of parity related to cost, cultural fit, past experience, cross-industry expertise, global reach and local resources can quickly divide the decision-making team.
While John may want a local resource to work on-site for the next two years, Jane may want a team located in San Francisco – the site of the organization’s next big acquisition – who travels to HQ every other week. Sally may think organizational change management is an HR function that has no place in an IT project, while Bill can’t imagine hiring a firm that doesn’t incorporate change management into the implementation. Understandably, the discussions can get intense.
Points of Differentiation
The service offerings that ERP consulting firms provide are typically one of the first points of differentiation. The way a firm positions itself and its service offerings can be a strong indicator of what you can actually expect in a consulting engagement. Here are some archetypes you may find in the ERP consulting market:
1. The firm that doesn’t offer business process reengineering or organizational change management. You want the real story? The real story is that both business process reengineering and organizational change management are absolutely critical components of your organization’s ERP implementation. Any firm that tries to become your ERP implementation partner and doesn’t incorporate these two service offerings into their proposal (or doesn’t even have the capability to offer them) does not understand what is truly needed for ERP success. Run like the wind away from them.
2. The firm that only does ERP software selection (but “really, really wants to get into implementations”). This is a particularly dangerous firm to contract with for either a software selection or an implementation project. A firm focused on ERP selection lacks a fundamental understanding of what an implementation actually involves and consequently what ERP software would best serve the organization’s bottom line, customers and staff. Be particularly wary of firms that have their feet firmly planted in selection but are trying to branch out into implementation. Don’t be their guinea pig.
Your digital transformation deserves better. Run away from these two types of consulting firms (as well as the three additional types we’ll be discussing tomorrow). You don’t want to miss Part 2.