Work with ERP Consultants to Avoid Failure
“Why would we need help with implementing or updating our ERP software?” It’s a question too often said in executive meetings, or thought by someone looking to cut back on the budget. After all, those who work for a business know it inside and out—why shouldn’t the employees be able to carry out a completely successful software project designed for specific company goals and needs?
But to achieve ERP success, your project must be based on detailed knowledge of both your business processes and the software instance. Without this level of expertise, your implementation strategy is destined to fail. ERP consultants leverage their extensive industry and software experience to mitigate risk and align your system with your unique business processes. Here are just some of the reasons why you shouldn’t go it alone when it comes to ERP projects.
There is No Such Thing as One Size Fits All
Everyone wants a simple button that they can push to magically complete every company task and solve problems. Many believe that an ERP system can perform this type of magic out of the box. The fact is, there is no such thing. Yes, companies within the same area of business (manufacturing, distribution, construction, etc.) may carry out similar tasks, but it would be ridiculous to assume that all those tasks are done exactly the same way in every separate company. Each job is run by different people in very different ways. You know what makes your company special and the details that you have honed over time to become successful—and stand out among competition.
Though smaller companies may find everything they need from an out-of-the-box implementation, in most cases, ERP is not going to be immediately attuned to each company’s processes, employees and workflows. Can you do what it takes to align your software with your business? Do you have the manpower to map out all of your business processes and then translate those in the ERP configuration process? The skill to create custom fields? The knowledge to prevent errors as you transfer data? While all of this might be new to you, expert consultants constantly do this work.
ERP consultants serve a variety of purposes throughout your implementation. They're the extra pair of eyes that can evaluate your business processes, offering a fresh perspective that can help you maximize your efficiency. They're the tailors who customize the system in line with your goals. They're the safety nets that protect the project from falling apart. But most of all, they're partners in your business's success, using sound strategies, software expertise and industry knowledge to implement the right system for your enterprise.
Best Practices are Essential
When businesses undergo projects on their own, they have a tendency to cut corners. And who can blame them? Dedicating your IT team and internal resources to such a thorough process is intense. That's why it's imperative to team up with experts who ensure no stone is left unturned while releasing the stress from your project team.
Two big steps often left out of ERP implementations are testing and change management. Before go-live, you should undergo several tests to make sure your deployment occurs free of errors. Sure, this process can be tedious, but companies that take shortcuts on testing tend to experience several issues upon go-live that threaten user adoption as well as data integrity, delaying the time it takes to earn a return on their investment. Consultants stay loyal to a proven strategy that includes software best practices, such as testing. They'll also bear the brunt of the work, so your implementation is not only risk-free but also hassle-free.
Change management is another area critical for success. Project teams tend to forgo this process, thinking users will instantly take to the system. However, refusing to put in place a change management strategy is one of the leading causes of ERP failure. Without open communication and training, user adoption will be poor. Consulting firms understand the importance of change management. They conduct on-site training sessions and offer communication methods to help users get on board with the new system.
ERP Should Grow with Your Business
Consultants shouldn't abandon you post go-live. After all, you'll still need upgrades, maintenance and future changes to ensure your ERP instance keeps up with your evolving business. Your consulting firm should go beyond implementations to provide an array of services. What if you decide you need a mobile app? What if you open global locations, requiring new features and integrations to support your growing enterprise? What if you experience an error in your reports? ERP experts will address these issues quickly and thoroughly to limit downtime and power your business's future performance.
Now that you know the importance of teaming up with an ERP consultant, make sure you find the right one. Datix, an Epicor Platinum Partner, has provided manufacturing and distribution solutions and services for over 20 years. We're also certified Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce and Magento partners, making us a one-stop shop for all your enterprise software needs.
To get started, download our Ultimate ERP and CRM Implementation Plan E-Book and reach out to one of our experts today!