4 Keys to Finding the Right ERP Implementation Partner
Buying a new ERP software solution is a big decision that carries a lot of weight—with a price tag to go along with it. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, which is why there are so many blogs, guides, and checklists aimed at helping. While most companies take it seriously, they often neglect to research how to make sure the implementation is successful. This is unfortunate because even the best ERP you can buy is only as good as the partner who customizes it for your unique needs and implements it. ERP implementation partner selection is critical to the success of your implementation. While many of the top reasons ERP implementations fail look on the surface like they’re the customer’s issue, it can be argued that all of them could have been prevented or at least mitigated by the right partner.
The right implementation partner not only ensures the solution will function as promised; the right partner will collaborate with you to make sure of your solution: fits your needs without over-customizing it; the plan for the implementation and associated tactics like training is thorough and efficient, aimed at getting you up and running as quickly as possible; plays nicely with the other technology you depend on to do business, just to name a few. Like choosing an ERP solution, choosing a partner is not an area you should gloss over or shop for bargain-basement pricing; you need a quality partner for an implementation of technology that is, in many ways, the foundation of your company.
Here are four keys to ERP implementation partner selection:
Key #1: They LISTEN FIRST
This might surprise you as our number one key because expertise and all the other reasons listed below are very important, but a good ERP partner MUST listen to you before they do anything else. They need to understand your business, processes, and desired future state. Then–and only then–can they effectively provide guidance on your plan–from customizing to choosing add-on applications to data migration and so forth. If they walk into the room telling you how they’re going to do it instead of asking questions and then suggesting a path, move on to the next partner candidate. YOU should drive the requirements process with their input and expert guidance.
Key #2: They Have Expertise in ALL the Technology Involved
Expertise is an absolute must with an ERP implementation partner—but not just expertise in the ERP software. Your ERP talks to or connects with multiple systems in your company, so your partner needs to understand those systems well enough to handle integrations and other connections. If they don’t, you could end up with systems that don’t work together seamlessly or even lose the ability to take advantage of some of the functionality that attracted you to it in the first place. Using a partner that does not have knowledge of all the systems that you need to integrate can have undesirable consequences.
Tip #3: They Know Your Industry
Expertise in technology is not enough. If your partner doesn’t know your industry, they’re not going to understand unique requirements and nuances, and you will be stuck educating them, which can add unnecessary time to the process and take up your resources. Regardless of how well you inform the partner about your industry, if they have not worked on ERP implementations for companies in your industry, they will not truly understand how best to approach the implementation and associated customizations and integrations. In short, find a partner that has deep industry experience–and ask to talk to these customers.
Tip #4: They Are Solid and Have a Proven Track Record
Don’t take the partner’s word for their assertion that they have a good track record and that their customers are happy. Ask for specific references in your industry. Look at their financials, customer retention rate…anything that will help you feel confident in their staying power.
But there’s more to it than that. You will use your new ERP solution for a very long time. The ongoing success of your ERP implementation depends also on what happens after the implementation. Your partner should be qualified beyond go-live. Look at their track record around support and upgrades. What are their current customers saying about their ongoing support? What is their upgrade/update methodology? For example, ArcherPoint handles upgrades smoothly with a continuous upgrade solution that keeps you current, reducing the cost of your long-term ERP costs.
Take the Time for ERP Implementation Partner Selection
With the amount of time and energy you have or will have invested in choosing a new ERP, do not short-change the process of selecting your ERP partner. All ERP solutions are not created equal, and neither are partners. Take the time to make sure the partner you choose is the right fit for your organization, and don’t fall for the cheapest. Cheap on the surface might cost you much more down the road. In fact, a good partner will always look for ways to do things better and in the process, save you money where possible.
Are you ready to select a new ERP solution and are looking for a partner? Are you still up in the air about which ERP software is best for you? Contact the ERP experts at ArcherPoint for a free consultation.