Part 4 of 10
Working with a new ERP implementation takes a lot more effort and patience, like a mother hen who tends for weeks to her eggs to ensure they are safe and warm. Conversely, supporting existing ERP implementations can be much easier in many ways because the initial work has already been completed – like raising a chick once it’s hatched. Granted, neither are easy but one requires less work.
While this analogy may seem like a stretch – they highlight another key element to evaluating ERP consultants which relates to their experience with new ERP implementations compared to on-going consulting services that shouldn’t be minimized. These are two very different things as some ERP consultants are very good at managing complex ERP projects which include business process reviews, project management, data migration, system installation, ERP setup and configuration, end-user training, conference room pilots, and ERP application go-live.
Does the ERP consultant have a proven track record successfully implementing companies like yours for the products you plan to use? If not then keep looking. If so, then do your due diligence to ensure that they can do what they say they can do. Ask for references (good and bad) and visit customers if possible. Talk to the publishers of the products they represent. Talk to their partners. Talk to their consulting team and review the implementation plan point-by-point to ensure they have the expertise, the bandwidth, and the track record of success to ensure a successful ERP implementation for your company. After all, statistics show that most companies consider their ERP implementations a failure and you certainly don’t want to become a statistic if you take the time to review what the potential ERP consultant has done in the past.
Others ERP consultants may struggle with initial ERP implementations but excel once the system is implemented. They are good options for on-going training and consulting services to implement smaller modules or to support your needs as you upgrade to new versions or encounter bugs in the software.
In fact, some companies may utilize multiple ERP consultants once the initial implementation is completed. This is a good strategy so long as you are confident that your primary ERP consultant can manage the core of your system and primary business requirements.
Make sure that other ERP consultants you work with can coordinate their efforts with your primary ERP consultant to avoid any potential source code conflicts and so that everyone is on the same page regarding priorities and responsibilities.
Consider for a minute what will happen if you have an ERP consultant make a change to your system and your main ERP consulting firm is unaware of it. You go to upgrade and there’s an issue. Who do you call? Who knows how to fix it? Will everyone point the finger at each other? Good ERP consultants work well with others so just make sure you understand the impact of using multiple resources on your system and you should be fine in the end.