Congratulations! Your business has made the choice to implement an ERP system. Now comes the most important element of that massive undertaking: selecting the right ERP consultants to help you bring the system to life.
ERP consultants are critical for your business, especially when the goal is to scale your organization to the next level. They are collaborative experts who will help you provide specific and tailored solutions to your business requirements.
There are many factors to consider when looking to hire an ERP consultant. Knowledge of processes and systems is important, sure. Having a transparent track record of success (on time, on budget, scope met) is also a must. But because most ERP implementations last from 6 months to two years, your business personalities have to align. Remember, these are people who will be working closely with you and your team, so your personality and working styles have to be a match.
An ERP Consultant can save you time and money, both of which are essential to your success. Here are five things to look for when identifying the right one.
5 things to consider in an ERP consultant
Your ERP consultant must supply you with references that are willing to endorse the firm and the people who worked on a successful project. These team members should be willing to take a call and provide detailed information about how the consultants worked, added value and if possible, share any hiccups in the project and how they tackled those. As a customer you want to hear directly from the “doers” (not just company leadership) for a reference.
Experienced ERP consulting firms have the ability to bring on experts in your field if their current talent bench does not include your industry. Sometimes an extremely niche business might think a consultant has to have experience in their exact business, but that isn’t necessarily true. It’s the deep experience in overall ERP solution selection, implementation and support that matters. And a solid firm will offer more than just ERP implementations. Look for offerings like hosting and cloud, software development, third party implementation and data services, all complementary components of your ERP.
Generally speaking, most professionals don’t pursue careers with companies whose philosophies or work culture is out of whack with what makes them happy and productive. The same is true when selecting your ERP consultant. There must be alignment of your project management philosophy. For example, what expectations are there of your team and of the consulting team? Do you have similar work styles, communication tools? Is your consultant software agnostic, or just there to sell a solution as opposed to investing in what solution works for your business? Do you agree on what KPIs are the most important? This important element of the relationship should be considered before any contract is signed.
You want a firm that will tell you the truth. Not just what you want to hear. It is vital that communication is honest and direct. Because many ERP implementations face constraints and unforeseen bumps, experienced ERP consultants will fundamentally make it easier for the team by sharing not just good news, or affirm your ideas and selections, but they will harmoniously explain when things need to be addressed differently.
When looking for an ERP consulting partner, look at the tenure of the firm’s employees. Longevity means a lot in the grueling world of ERP implementations. It demonstrates a commitment to the art and science of ERP systems and means the consulting company has created an environment of excellence and motivation to retain talent. Of course, it’s also imperative to interview everyone who will be assigned to your project team. Not just a “representative,” but the actual people you will work with so that you can understand their direct experience in your industry or with the software selection.
ERP Consultants are your partners
Ultimately, a talented ERP consultant will be fully focused on propelling your business forward, because they are your long-term partners. Any deliverables agreed upon in the initial scope of work and any amendments must have deliverables that create tangible, visible value.
Just as ERP solutions help businesses optimize and streamline their processes, the best ERP consultants will make the most of your partnership, so that you can focus on what you do best, rather than on non-value-added activities.
Once your organization reaches the point where an integrated suite of software to tie together business operations, optimize efficiency and grow revenue, is necessary, it’s time for an ERP solution. And, it is time to look for the right ERP professionals to help ensure success.
Crestwood Associates is an award-winning company with proven success in 5,000+ ERP implementations. Our experienced consultants have been advising clients in a range of industries for more than 20 years. We know how to help companies like yours avoid pitfalls and achieve success.
We have a strong and deep team to support the complexity of an ERP implementation.
We have experts in various avenues who can help solve problems on complex projects.
We do not outsource any aspect of the project, saving time and money.
Have you outgrown your current ERP system?
We advise key stakeholders on which technology solutions will have the greatest impact on your business goals by reviewing your system and processes. We then quantify the goals and map out an action plan to achieve them. Contact us today for an ERP Discover and Advise Consultation Request.