You’ve made the decision to implement an ERP solution at your business. Now that you’re ready to move ahead, which partner should you work with? Choosing the right ERP partner is essential to executing a successful implementation. When software projects fail, half of the time it is due to friction and pain points during implementation and not an issue related to the design or performance of the software itself. What can you do to ensure a seamless implementation? In order to make the right choice when hiring an ERP partner, you need to ask the right questions across four areas of focus: project scope, partner expertise, business culture, and expectations.
Hiring an ERP Partner: Areas to Focus On
Project Scope: Getting a High-Level Overview of Implementation
As a first step, make sure that you are clear on the key details of your ERP implementation. Everything from cost to timeline should be defined in this initial stage of the vetting process. You also want to make sure that you understand what contingencies are in place if these standards are not met. For example, if a project is delayed, what contingencies are in place to address this? Don’t stop with just a basic understanding of your project scope, and make sure you have an understanding of what will happen if things don’t go to plan.
Next, take the time to vet not only your potential ERP partner’s experience with the technology but also their experience in the industry. Technologies evolve over time, and modern software solutions often involve customizations via third-party solutions. Does this ERP partner have the understanding of where the tech is going to help your project succeed in the short term and long term? Do they have a comprehensive grasp of compliance requirements? You also want to see if your partner has worked with other companies in your space. Do they have an understanding of the real-world implications of how ERP functions in your niche? All of this factors into how viable a potential partner will be during and after implementation.
An ERP implementation is a collaborative process, and one that can last for several weeks or months. Who will you be working with on the partner side? Does their business culture align with yours? How effectively and proactively do they communicate with your side, and do you speak the same “language” when it comes to collaboration? Are they customer-focused and aware of what you need beyond the black-and-white logistics of the software solution? Consider these things in light of the fact that this will be a collaborative relationship that will exist throughout the lifespan of your ERP solution.
Finally, after you have had conversations addressing all of the above, make sure that you have consensus as to expectations for the project moving forward. Remember, expectations go both ways. You may well ask your ERP partner to meet your expectations, but are you prepared to do your part, as well? What does your team need to bring to the table? Make sure that you map this out in detail to make the implementation process as seamless as possible before you pull the trigger on a project.
In closing, don’t be afraid to ask any of the above and more. An ERP partner who is not willing to discuss these finer points should be a red flag, while a viable, long-term partner will happily discuss all the details. By crossing your t’s and dotting your I’s during these early days, you can ensure that you and your ERP partner not only experience a successful implementation but enjoy a mutually beneficial business relationship for years to come. Ready to find the right ERP partner for you? Discover the 12 questions every ERP buyer should ask. Download our E-guide.