One of the most loathed and jargon-y phrases in the human language is “synergy.” In fact, even the definition, “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects,” could cause the average person to retch a bit.
The Concept vs. The Jargon
But when you really look at the concept, it makes sense. In baseball, it’s the idea of lineup protection—putting a consistent hitter behind a inconsistent power hitter to force the hand of the pitcher. Hockey teams will connect a great playmaker with a sniper to set up better scoring chances.
Unfortunately, the phrase always seems to get convoluted when applied to business. A corporate executive will present the idea of synergy after a merger knowing full well that the benefits won’t come about for months or years. AOL and Time Warner merged for “synergy,” and we all know how that went.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the concept is that the two sides don’t exactly see eye to eye. Sales and marketing alignment has always promised synergy, but the two sides rarely are willing to go through the accountability needed to get there—synergy is supposed to be 1+1=3; in this environment, it ends up at 1+1=2.5. These departments are supposed to be close—what about two departments that aren’t exactly focused on the same end goal?
ERP Implementations: The Dangers of Disconnection
ERP is pitched as a solution that allows you to connect disjointed processes. When used effectively, CRM, ERP, and Inventory or Project Management can integrate to give the right information to employees using each of these three products. Multi-location products can help leaders see what’s happening at each site, in each district, or in each country.
But what about the company you trust to put the software into action? Are they aligned? Is the sales team going to hold the implementation team accountable? Are salespeople making promises that implementation can’t deliver?
When sales and implementation aren’t working together, tensions rise and the customer gets hurt.
What Happens When Sales and Implementation Teams Aren’t on the Same Page?
Imagine it like going to a restaurant. The restaurant advertises fresh caught Copper River salmon. The wait staff reinforces this. But… no one told the chef. A half-hour later, sitting in front of you is an ugly piece of farm-raised fish.
When ERP sales and implementation teams aren’t holding each other accountable, the experience is similar—but it’s much more complex. Too often, sales teams will make promises to potential customers. They’ll get your hopes up for functionality that doesn’t exactly work the way they promise.
Sometimes, you will be overpromised something. Other times, you might be told bold-faced lies in order to secure a sale.
Either way, you’re the one who suffers. When functionality is overpromised, this has a direct impact on your ROI projections. When nonexistent functionality or integrations are promised, you end up learning that “Yeah, we can do that” really means “it is possible, but we’ll need to bring on additional resources, add a few thousand for an integration, or put hundreds of hours of labor to make it work.”
Why Implementation Partners Prioritize Honesty and Accountability
Whether the above-mentioned scenario comes from a vendor or an unscrupulous partner, you’re the one to end up suffering. Less accountability means less feedback, less feedback means more unattainable goals. Deadlines are missed, budgets surpass estimates, and the customer ends up joining the ranks of “implementation failures.”
A true ERP implementation partner isn’t going to leave you out to dry. If a reseller’s implementation team misses the mark set by the sales staff, they are still going to have to share a water cooler with that person. If the salesperson makes an unattainable promise, you can be certain that issue will come up in a meeting.
When looking at ERP implementation teams, it’s important to prioritize accountability and honesty. Know who’s working with you, get the lineup card in advance, and ensure that teams can deliver the synergy they promise.
MIBAR: The Honest ERP Implementation Partner
We have a reputation to uphold—and when your primary job is implementation, one bad review can cause a significant ripple effect. At MIBAR, we know our role. We know our own limitations, and don’t have a few billion dollars sitting around to hire a development staff to build a massive enterprise-grade system.
If you’re looking to find the right partner to deliver you to a smarter ERP solution, 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.
Additional ERP Implementation Resources