Enterprise resource planning is all about options. For those in the process of evaluating and selecting software, you have a long journey ahead of you. From securing buy-in and convincing end users that a move is right to documenting functionality from multiple vendors and ultimately putting the software into use, you’re going to have a lot of important choices that determine how much value you’re going to get from a solution.
Choose Your Adventure: Many Paths, Many Pitfalls
Each of these choices matters to your business, and unfortunately, in an environment where failure is common, the wrong one can be devastating. Not only can a product fail to deliver on the value expected by users, complete ERP failure often results in result in damaged reputation, damaged relationships, or legal battles.
Pair this with other challenges or lowlights in the ERP space—a third of executives and workers are unsatisfied with ERP, more than half of projects exceed time and budget constraints, and a full nine in ten projects fail to deliver measurable ROI—and you may be a bit skeptical.
When sticking with the status quo is not an option—and neither is failure, it pays to identify when, where, and how failure takes place during the ERP implementation process so that you can take steps to avoid it. That’s why, over the next few months, we’re going to dig into these potential mishaps, supplementing our most recent whitepaper on how to find the right partner to task with an ERP project.
An Overlooked Choice: Who Should You Trust with Your Project?
In technology, a whole lot of focus is put on brands. Android vs. iPhone, AMD vs. Intel, Sony vs. Microsoft. This is just as true in ERP. NetSuite vs. Intacct, Acumatica vs. GP—the comparisons are seemingly neverending. However, much less attention is put on the company putting a solution into use—no matter how important this is.
The wrong choice—even with the right software—can leave you hung out to dry, and many companies end up missing out on the value proposition simply because they didn’t dive into this very important question. This begs the question, who can you trust?
Though there are many ways to approach this decision, ranging from their ability to match you in size to their ability to deliver complementing services to their innovation and leadership in the marketplace, some of the most important factors to consider are the following:
- Experience: How long has a potential partner been working with a solution? How well do they know the ins and outs that go into an implementation of a product?
- Expertise: Just because they’ve worked with a product or have been in the market for a while doesn’t mean they have the intuition needed to align a solution with your business goals.
- Industry Understanding: An ERP solution should be able to provide as close to perfect fit as possible. The partner is the company that gets you from 90% fit to 100% fit. How well does a company know your industry and do they have deep knowledge of the competitive landscape?
- Alignment: Like any team, success is built on chemistry. Is the implementation team able to hold the sales team accountable and vice versa?
- Resource Availability: Especially for complex projects, you need to be sure that you’re getting the best people for the job. Experience is hard to find in the ERP world, and the team that you task with implementation often needs to be in the top of their class.
- Honesty: Getting what you want and need is all about getting honest answers. The difference between success and failure isn’t asking “can a product do that,” it’s based on “how much effort will this require?” Demand honesty and probe for answers in a quote.
Is the Decision to Work with a Publisher Putting You at Risk?
As you approach an ERP project, one of the biggest risks to the project is often one that sounds good on paper: Trusting the company who publishes the software to put it into use. After all, you’d expect that the company who built the product would know how to put it into action, right? In theory, this is the case, but in practice, the opposite is true.
Publishers build amazing products, but rarely have the skills needed to implement. Combine a lack of experience and expertise with a sales team who only knows one product, and companies who turn to publishers for a solution are not getting the necessary value.
We recently released a new guide to help companies approaching an ERP implementation understand the true value of working with an implementation partner and the risks involved when publishers “cross the streams” and try to inch their way into the implementation side of the business. Learn more in our free guide titled Reducing ERP Project Risk: Why the Right Partner Matters.