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Grab the Advil! I have a headache. A really big, oversized ERP headache.

The Swinging Door of ERP Consultants

As a former implementation lead on the client side, I can attest that the practice of replacing consultants at every stage of an ERP implementation was frustrating and objectionable. Nothing was more disruptive than stopping all the progress you previously made, to once again explain your processes and requirements to the “new kid on the block”.

  • Be sure that you, as the client, hire and contract with recruiters or ERP implementation partners who understand the need to bring on functional and technical consultants that are committed to a project.
  • Make sure that all the processes, requirements and key improvements have been thoroughly documented and are available for review. Insist that the new consultant studies the documents within his/her expertise before he goes to the client. Find ERP consultants that are willing to train the newcomer.
  • Within a small to medium size company, most clients’ core team members are still juggling multiple jobs. The last thing they need is to spend time repeating everything they have already discussed, maybe many times!

Continuity of consultants and staff, the ability for those consultants to update each other, and being sure that documentation is easily accessible, can eliminate the frustration that a core team member experiences throughout the entire implementation.

ERP Consultants Running Amok

Check with you ERP implementation partner on the rules that they establish for the workplace. I’m the client, and working like mad to keep the project moving forward. I have a stake in the outcome, and will most likely be rated on my performance. I feel I have every right to demand the same level of behavior from those that are being paid far more than I am.

  • Does the partner allow the consultant to take recruiting calls during the workday? I have had numerous meetings/discussions interrupted by calls from headhunters. The consultants used “my” time to discuss their next gig.
  • Does the partner allow the consultant to make all their travel arrangements during the workday? I watched and waited while they spent 30 minutes booking flights and hotel reservations.
  • You provide lunch for the team members. Yet, many consultants use their expense accounts to go outside the premises. Make sure you are not being charged for those expenses.
  • Are the consultants expected to arrive on time, and leave at the end of the workday? I have known some very dedicated consultants that would put in many hours at the workplace and many more during their evenings. Others wandered in when they felt like, took long lunch hours and left with no regard to the work that was required.

Be sure you monitor the behavior. Report problems immediately to the contractor.  Get feedback from your own staff. You pay for excellent service, and you should expect nothing less. As the ultimate employer you should demand the same rules from your consultants as you expect from your direct employees.

Morale throughout the entire ERP project is paramount. Nothing can make your own employees less committed than working with ERP consultants that lack discipline, dedication and integrity.

Remember a happy project team is a successful project team!

Blog entry written by Jeanne Hedman, an ERP Consultant at Panorama Consulting Group.

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