“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” This quote, attributed to 20th Century Psychologist Abraham Maslow, can find its way into a variety of spaces. From the literal interpretation to the topic we’re going to discuss today, the premise is simple—if someone has only one tool available to them, they’re going to approach every problem with that tool.

The Single Tool Trap and How to Avoid It

For companies looking to buy ERP software, this creates a challenge. Why? Because a whole lot of the groups you may trust to put a product in action only have one tool available to use. Maybe it’s a value-added reseller who sells products exclusively or maybe it’s a publisher who also has its own sales and implementation team.

But no matter how skilled these organizations are at what they do, the simple fact remains—they’re not working with a full toolbox and may end up approaching your nuanced project with a direct approach. Unfortunately for companies looking to get the most out of an ERP implementation, decision makers may end up being pressured into a software that doesn’t meet their needs.

Three Risks of Working with a One-Tool ERP Partner

Following our last blogs on the five biggest drivers of ERP failure, the biggest ERP failure warning signs, and the keys to finding a true ERP partner, we would today like to explore the dangers of the single tool trap and discuss how you can avoid the challenges this creates.

They Think Their Product Can Do Everything

The most obvious concern when working with a company who focuses on a single product is simple: It’s an all or nothing ordeal. Though many partners and value-added resellers may cordially remove themselves if they can’t see themselves succeeding, others—especially those with a disconnected sales and implementation team—may ante up a solution that is bound to fail.

Salespeople are trained to understand that the hammer isn’t just the best tool, it’s the only tool. Not only could this result in a bit of exaggeration in the sales process, it could result in promises that a vendor’s engineers can’t keep.

Lack of Competitor Understanding

The second reason that single vendor ERP teams may leave you stranded is their lack of marketplace knowledge. For example, say you ask about some kind of critical functionality their product can’t deliver. Rather than say that they can’t offer it, they will either promise that it’s “possible” or deflect and say that “other vendor can’t do it either.”

While it’s likely that they aren’t wrong about the former statement—anything can be possible with the right amount of labor costs and hours—the latter is often built on a lack of marketplace knowledge. With dozens of ERP options available, a salesperson can’t consistently keep up with the market and cover up their own product’s weaknesses by making a blanket statement that no one else is doing it.

Easy to Pass the Buck

Often a challenge associated with trusting a publisher’s sales team instead of working with a reseller is the amount of buck-passing that can go around. Sales might blame engineering, engineering might blame sales, or the company may blame you—and bury you in enough legal paperwork to hide themselves.

While it’s much easier for a vendor-side implementation failure to get buried in NDAs and settlements, a partner puts their reputation on the line any time they take on a project.

The Benefits of Partners Offering Product Diversity

When you turn to a implementation partner—specifically one with a diverse product offering—you’re going to get honest, nuanced, and accurate answers. For many implementation partners, reputation is key, and word travels fast. One failure often results in a lost sale from a different potential client.

In this, many ERP implementation partners who care about their own business will take care of you. The right partner will put significant effort getting to know about you and your business before they even tough your software. Their goal is to know whether or not they will be a fit before the project starts, and many will back out or recommend a product that represents a better fit.

Additionally, in a marketplace as diverse as ERP implementation, you’re going to find specialists. A critical concern for decision makers—especially those in complex industries with unique challenges, it’s imperative to find a partner who has been there before.

Many Ways to Avoid ERP Failure—Learn More in Our Free Guide

Whether you’re looking to uncover more mistakes to avoid or want to know what to look for in an ERP partner, we recently wrote a free resource to help you learn. Reducing ERP Project Risk: Why the Right Partner Matters is our latest whitepaper and explores in much greater detail the above-mentioned failures and the ways your partner can help.

You will learn common reasons why ERP projects fail, errors made during the pre-selection, selection, and implementation process, disadvantages of working with ERP publishers, and important tips for selecting the right partner. Click here to learn more.

The MIBAR team has a skillset and history of success for clients who need ERP solutions like Dynamics Business Central,  Acumatica, or NetSuite, as well as a broad variety of solutions designed to make these products even better. Get to know more about us and contact us for a free consultation.

Additional ERP Resources

How the Cloud Has Made Fast, Thorough ERP Implementations a Reality

Three Reasons Cloud ERP Delivers Security for Your Remote Teams

Six Risks of Using Legacy Financial Software or ERP