ERP Consultant Selection
Selecting an ERP consulting firm can often feel like looking through a Where’s Waldo? book. There’s a lot of firms touting themselves as ERP experts and claiming they’re superior in their field. How do you find the real expert both in ERP software and in your industry amidst a sea of consultants calling themselves “the best”? As you’ll see below, choosing the right firm is similar to the process of choosing the right ERP vendor: it requires diligent research and planning as well as a thorough comprehension of your specific business needs.
Consider Present and Future Business Needs
You’ll never find the best fit for your ERP project if you don’t know your software goals. If you’ve chosen your software vendor, then you should already have established business needs. That means considering current pain points for your users and customers and determining the most important processes your ERP instance needs to support. But don’t limit your thinking to the present. Do you want to see your business expand into other markets, diversify its services and products or gain more of an international presence? Do you see your company adding on a CRM or eCommerce system somewhere down the line? These questions play a critical role in determining which firm will serve as the most appropriate partner in your software journey.
Imagine the following scenario: a manufacturer is won over by a consulting firm’s pitch for their ERP implementation services. But it turns out that the firm specializes in retail. They’ve provided a large number of winning solutions for retailers, but don’t know the primary concerns of manufacturers. The ERP solution, therefore, failed in user adoption because it wasn’t installed to meet industry demands.
Now, let’s look at another manufacturer that has selected a consulting firm with a robust understanding of their industry. Everything goes smoothly upon go-live, but when the company decides to include a CRM system, they have to restart their search. The firm they’ve trusted for years and that knows their business inside and out doesn’t know the first thing about CRM and integrations, forcing the client to look elsewhere.
Both situations can be avoided if businesses take a proactive approach to their ERP consultant search. You could come across several firms that are truly the best at what they do, but if their specialties don’t align with your needs, keep looking.
Meet with Consultants
Don’t choose an ERP consultant without meeting them first. Furthermore, don’t meet with an ERP consultant without planning the right questions. In one of our blog posts, we list five of the essential questions businesses must ask consulting firms to determine if they’re a fit for their ERP projects:
- Do you have experience with my industry?
- How much time do you have to devote to the implementation?
- Can you show me data-driven results?
- Have you encountered project failure before? What was your response?
- How will the software integrate into my business?
These questions are meant to evaluate whether the consulting firm can meet your specific business needs. The right consultants should be able to explain how their solutions can solve particular problems, present data that shows their experience with similar companies and demonstrate their honesty and level of support. In addition to bringing your questions to the meeting, also bring a checklist and take notes. This will help you focus on what’s important for the consultant to bring to the project.
Pick up your magnifying glass and put on your deerstalker cap to do a little detective work into the consulting firm. Besides asking the above questions, you also want consultants to provide references. Reach out to previous clients to find out the pros and cons of their experience with the firm. In addition, go online to check out reviews and even do some digging into some of the firm’s consultants. You want your consultants to have certifications in the particular software vendor you intend to use for your project, or at least ample experience working with that software.
When looking for an ERP consulting firm, you don’t just want ERP experts; you want experts in ongoing support, your industry and other software solutions. Carefully consider your business needs and future goals, and don’t be afraid to ask consultants the tough questions in order to find the right fit for your ERP needs. Finding a consultant is an important task, so don’t cut corners in the selection process.
For 20 years, Datix has served as an ERP expert for manufacturers and distributors. An Epicor Platinum Partner, we know how to deliver scalable solutions that work. From planning to go-live to upgrades, our consultants are there at every stage of your software journey. We’re a one-stop shop with not just ERP solutions but CRM, eCommerce and integration experience.
To find out what makes us an ERP expert, contact Datix today!