Litigation of any kind can be stressful, time-consuming and costly. This is especially the case if you’re preparing for trial regarding an ERP lawsuit.
If so, it pays to partner with a software expert witness. These experts are experienced in providing reports, depositions and testimonies that can help strengthen your case with unbiased, fact-based opinions.
While some attorneys partner with an individual testifying expert, we recommend taking a different approach and hiring an expert witness who is supported by a software expert witness team of subject matter experts (SMEs), ERP consultants, technical experts and more.
Why does this team-based method work better than hiring a single expert? Today, we’re exploring five benefits to this approach, revealing how much power lies in numbers.
5 Benefits of a Software Expert Witness Team
1. Expertise in People, Process and Technology
Almost every case we deal with has three components: people, processes and technology. Combined, they all play a critical role in the implementation of any type of ERP system or enterprise software.
While many expert witnesses have strong experience in one or maybe two of these areas, it’s a rare person that has deep knowledge of all three.
When gathering support for your case, it’s best to look for a team where the expert witness is supported with other team member’s expertise across people, processes and technology.
These team members should have experience working on successful ERP implementations and recovering ERP failures. In short, they should have a variety of ERP success and failure stories to pull from.
We are called upon to investigate the feasibility of litigation, provide software expert witness testimony and build background reporting for some of the industry’s highest-profile ERP lawsuits.
2. Continued Momentum in the Event of Interruptions
When the unexpected occurs, such as sickness or another unavoidable circumstance, having only one resource on a case can mean the process stops in its tracks. You might even have to look for a new expert witness.
However, if you’ve hired a whole team, casework can continue as normal until the expert witness returns. You can continue to move forward in the generation of the expert’s reviewed deliverables whether or not they are present.
3. Knowledge from Subject Matter Experts
Any ERP lawsuit is made stronger when a SME delivers pointed insights on the issue at hand. When you have multiple SMEs together on one team, you create an unmatchable force. Let’s take a look at three benefits you can expect from SMEs:
Knowledge of the client’s specific industry is essential to building a strong argument for the expert report. While most expert witnesses have knowledge of multiple industries, no expert can possibly have experience in all industries.
A team-based approach allows for the addition of an industry-specific SME to help the expert witness understand the nuances of a given industry.
For example, analyzing a government ERP failure requires team members with public sector ERP implementation experience.
Most software expert witness cases tend to focus on the program management side of an implementation. However, at times there may be the need to actually “look under the hood” and understand more technical details. For example, this may mean reviewing the customized code for efficiency and accuracy or reviewing SaaS contracts.
Most software expert witnesses do not have this kind of technical knowledge, so it’s helpful to hire a team that includes SMEs who can review the technical side of the implementation. These SMEs can help prepare the expert witness with the technical knowledge they need to elaborate on certain points.
Specific Application Experience or Software Developer Experience
Again, not all expert witnesses have experience with specific ERP software, and this may prove to be detrimental to a case.
Having a supporting team member who is well-versed in the application in question ensures the expert witness has information regarding key differentiators or flaws in the software developer’s application. Often, this is critical to the outcome of the case.
For example, if the case involves the implementation of human capital management software, you should hire a team with experience in the specific HCM system involved and someone who understands common HCM implementation risks.
4. Additional Eyes Reviewing Deliverables
With the support of a team, an expert witness isn’t tasked with shouldering the entire case alone. Rather, they can ask for reviews of all deliverables to catch details such as grammatical errors or critical strategic points in a document that were overlooked.
It never hurts to have multiple eyes on a document because even a thorough review may result in overlooked details. In fact, ERP projects involve a variety of components, from ERP selection, to pre-implementation, to organizational change management and business process reengineering. There are so many components that it’s easy to overlook the finer details of each one as they often overlap and span multiple phases of a project.
5. Cost Savings from a Blended Rate
An expert witness is typically paid a relatively high rate compared to other team members. As such, you shouldn’t ask an expert witness to perform administrative tasks, such as plowing through discovery documents to find nuggets of information.
Instead, you should assign this to an analyst who can do this work at a much lower rate.
When you reserve the expert’s time for critical strategy and key document creation, the overall cost of the team is much lower than the cost of a solo expert witness.
Reap the Benefits of a Software Expert Witness Team
An ERP expert witness team can help you uncover and explain important details about what went wrong in an ERP implementation. Were ERP implementation best practices followed, and if not, was this the fault of the implementer or the client? This is just one question that an expert witness can answer.
While a single expert is better than none at all, it’s always best to hire an expert witness who takes a team-based approach. Our software expert witness team has experience providing support to attorneys representing plaintiffs, defendants, ERP vendors, system integrators and end customers. Request a free consultation below to learn more.