Nowadays, a growing number of companies are facing the choice of whether to hire an ERP service provider or not. Some of them swing between ERP consultants and systems integrators, who could help them with the ERP implementation process. However, most business owners decide to launch an ERP initiative themselves, without considering the knowledge and skill set of a specialist.
What do you think? Do you really need a high-priced ERP consultant to help you plan a new ERP deployment or upgrade an existing solution? Probably, not. Then why should you hire him? Even more important, why should you choose an ERP consultant over a software integrator? Let’s take a quick look at some points you should consider.
- Knowledge and experience: The job of an ERP consultant revolves around implementing and customizing ERP solutions. Thus, he has greater expertise than a regular systems integrator or in-house IT personnel. Additionally, an experienced consultant has managed many ERP projects. As an expert on all the aspects of ERP project management, he will be able to guide you in the selection of the right software solution for your company along with the modules and features you need for industry-specific operations. Above all these, a good consultant can tailor any ERP environment according to your needs, without disrupting your business operations. In tune with both the ERP solution he provides and your organization’s needs, the consultant can also offer your employees the training they need to exploit the system beyond its apparent potential.
- Support: Frequently, ERP consultants develop proprietary code, hotfixes, work-arounds, and utilities that make ERP implementations go smoothly and quickly, while improving the entire IT infrastructure. Most of them also provide post-implementation support. Though you have to pay for support services, a reliable consultant will be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to help you avoid, address, and solve a series of issues that can “derail” your company. Compared to what you stand to lose in case of prolonged downtime, it’s worth spending money on support.
- Biased decisions: Since most ERP consultants provide specific products and services, many of them will try to steer you into a specific product line. However, a true professional will analyze your business and tell you whether or not the ERP product he provides matches your needs. Some ERP consultants looking to build trust go even further. Putting customers’ interests above their own, they recommend the most appropriate ERP system for each company, even if this means sending customers to the competition.
Since we’re talking about trust, an honest ERP consultant will always explain the implications of a sizeable ERP initiative so that the business owner or the manager in charge of the project can allocate enough resources to ensure a successful system implementation. In addition, he will provide detailed information about the modules and features you can benefit from, indicating clearly what the system can and cannot do. He will also help project initiators decide what’s best for the company. In a nutshell, an honest consultant can help you get the right ERP system for your business instead of a “parasite” that will deplete your resources.
Most business owners and managers running day-to-day operations think they know their businesses. But what they don’t know is that choosing an ERP solution requires much more than understanding business processes. An ERP consultant, on the other hand, can accelerate the deployment process, minimize ERP risks, and offer a fresh vision that recognizes the complexity of process-oriented environments. All these points are extremely important for a company planning to adopt fully integrated business software and increase the value of its ERP undertaking. Though any ERP project requires a consultant’s input at some stage, careful research and consideration will help minimize your company’s exposure to potential drawbacks.
Given the above, it all boils down to one question: do you want a systems integrator who can help you implement a piece of software, or an ERP consultant who can turn a simple ERP implementation into an on-going success and positive revenue experience? The choice is yours, but don’t forget that choosing one over the other will make the difference between success and failure.