Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can help organizations manage daily task lists, impacting many parts of the business. With the right ERP implementation partner, you can hit the ground running with new software to streamline your processes. But, not all ERP partners are created equal.
How can you choose the right ERP implementation partner for your business? Use these questions to narrow down your list and choose a partner who delivers the most value.
7 Questions to Ask Potential ERP Implementation Partners
Implementation may be a short-term experience, but it should lead to a long-term partnership. If the partnership fails, you are back to square one.
Here are seven important questions to ask ERP implementation service partners to find the best fit possible.
1. What are your integration capabilities?
You need your software to play nice with others. Find out exactly what will (and won’t) integrate with the new ERP you are looking at.
Some software may be worth upgrading or replacing. But, there are bound to be certain solutions your employees can’t manage without. Make sure you check all software integration and take careful notes of what your potential partners say about those essential software players.
You need a team that specializes in connecting ERP products with your existing software.
2. How big is your ERP integration team?
The potential match should be the right size for your company.
Too small and you may be dealing with a limited team of experts in specific areas who are stretched too thin if you have an issue. They may not be familiar with your industry, which can lead to compliance concerns and failing to understand your needs.
But, too big and you are dealing with a partner likely to be more enamored with their big clients. You might have a hard time getting the attention you need from a partner who can’t prioritize your business.
You need that mid-sized partner who has enough talent on the team to be a huge asset to you, while being small enough to respond personally if you need support.
3. Is your team aligned?
We’ve written before about how true synergy is more than a buzzword.
When choosing the right implementation partner, you need to have a good sense of how they work together. If the sales team is making wild and flippant promises, then you will very likely end up disappointed down the road. You need to know that the sales team is only offering benefits the implementation team is going to follow through with.
The sales team is driven to do one thing: convert leads to customers. However, this doesn’t mean they should be willing to make empty promises along the way.
Watch for red flags that what one team is telling you doesn’t quite align with the other team or the reality of the software itself. You can ask the question, but actions will speak louder than words here.
4. What references do you have?
Another important thing is finding the right company that has already proven itself with excellent work. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and check them out.
You might feel a little awkward, but this is all an interview process. Would you hire a candidate without asking for references? You need some proof that they can do what they are promising.
Try to get references in your industry if possible. Ask for case studies if you are interested in the true potential of what they offer. A straightforward partner should be happy to give you names and contact information to prove their past successes.
5. Who will be the primary contact point?
You should have an implementation expert who is your regular point of contact. Pinpoint who this person will be and make sure you are familiar with him or her before choosing a partner. Some companies will do the bait-and-switch, where you are introduced to a senior developer or support member—only to be handed off to a junior tech later.
Even worse, you don’t want to be told to reach out to an unavailable IT department if you have issues in the middle of an ERP update.
You should be clear on how long response times are and what ongoing support will look like. You should also have a clear understanding of what will happen if your point of contact is out sick or chooses to leave the company for any reason; who takes their place?
Make sure your ERP partner is dedicating people to handle your project.
6. Do you offer full ERP integration services?
Beware of the partners who are only going to cover part of the process. Some teams may promise integration, but don’t offer customer support. Others won’t allow any customization.
Look for an ERP partner who is going to be there long after the go-live stage. Find out what kind of training they offer to help get your team on board and reduce the backlash.
One clear red flag here will be if your conversations are all centered around what the ERP is designed to do out-of-box. If you aren’t discussing how it will support your unique business process, then you are likely going to run into limited services down the road.
7. What is your implementation process?
A good partner is going to be able to give you a clear expectation for the implementation process. They should offer a free consultation that looks at your needs and outlines how the ERP can help.
As a follow-up question, ask what difficulties you may face during the process. A good partner will offer a refreshing honesty that isn’t going to present all rainbows and butterflies. No one wants things to get knocked off course, but it’s important to plan for potential issues.
Since 1991, MIBAR has been helping companies automate their processes and enjoy the benefits of great ERP partnerships. If you’re ready to take your organization to the next level, we’re ready to help you get there. Reach out to our team today!