As a business grows, the role of ERP in the business increases as the tool allows enterprises to remain efficient and competitive.
According to the 2022 ERP Report by Panorama Consulting, 92% of organizations that developed an ERP note improved inventory management, 84% report streamlined compliance management, and 80% recognize improvements in productivity and efficiency.
Despite these benefits, ERP development, whether it is implementation, customization, migration, or integration, is a complex process where many things can not go as planned. In the worst-case scenario, organizations can end up with poorly-performing software. But in many cases, companies can also exceed the project deadline or budget, as, according to the same Panorama report, more than 40% of enterprises could not complete an ERP development project within the established budget.
Fortunately, ERP advisory can help avoid such issues, provided that you choose the right ERP consultant. This article explores the importance of consultancy for ERP project success and shares some tips on how you can select the best service provider.
The role of consultants in ERP development projects
In short, a consultant’s task is to ensure that you get an operational solution that meets your initial business requirements. Typically, a consultant’s engagement includes the following aspects:
- Technology advisory
The choice of a technology foundation for your ERP is one of the critical factors determining the project’s success or failure. Involving experienced and competent ERP consultants in technology advisory, you can quickly identify the most relevant tech for meeting your unique needs.
- Design and implementation
Oftentimes, organizations do not have sufficient internal resources to perform ERP development, so they delegate such tasks as planning, coding, and testing to a consultant. Relying on a consultant’s skills and expertise, you can ensure that your investment results in high-quality EHR software.
- Support and maintenance
You can also engage an ERP consultant after the solution’s deployment. In this case, a consultant can take on routine meintenance tasks or help companies continuously improve their solution.
3 tips for selecting an ERP consultant
Now that we have discussed the role of a consultant in ERP development, let us discus how to choose the right ERP consultancy provider.
Define your requirements
While performing this step may take some time, we would not recommend skipping it. After all, how can you choose the right ERP consulting provider if you do not know what you need?
First, we would recommend you get a shared understanding of the ERP development project’s goals across your organization. To do this, you may run a series of meetings with your enterprise managers, such as sales, marketing, logistics, and so on, or task a dedicated group with gathering information within your organization. You can ask colleagues the following questions:
- Do we need to initiate ERP development? Why?
- What business benefits do we expect to gain after the project ends?
- Should we develop on-premise software, or is cloud hosting a better option?
- What ERP features do we need the most?
- Should we implement a platform-based ERP or is it better to develop an ERP from scratch?
- What are our requirements for consultants? What expertise, experience, and skills do we need foremost?
Based on these discussions, you will be able to formulate the general requirements for the future ERP system and get a general idea of who your potential consultant should be, which will simplify the process of selecting candidates. Ideally, you can also create a document that describes your existing digital ecosystem, covers the most critical ERP workflows, and includes information about your business requirements and budget. Later, you can use this document to effectively and quickly convey your needs and project vision to consultants and save yourself time and effort.
Rank your candidates
Once you have a pool of candidates, you need to select those service providers that are best suited for the role of your technology partner. We would recommend creating some kind of a comparison table in Excel or Google Sheets where each row would represent a particular consultant, and each column would be contain one of the following assessment parameters:
- Consultant’s location
- Years in business
- Availability of relevant technological expertise
- Availability of relevant industrial expertise
- Availability of required certifications
- The ratio of positive to negative reviews (this information can be obtained via services such as GoodFirms or Clutch)
In addition, to simplify the selection process, you can contact your candidates’ past clients and ask for their opinion. It is also advisable to contact only those clients who had projects similar to yours.
Evaluate candidates through communication
Even though this point is last on our list, we cannot underestimate the importance of communication in choosing an ERP consulting provider. Firstly, communication itself enables you to gather more information about a consultant, so do not neglect asking as many questions as possible. This way you can gain the most complete picture of the candidate’s competencies and practical experience.
What is more, you can understand a lot about the company by simply analyzing the way it communicates. So, suppose company representatives do not provide clear answers to your questions, respond with long delays, refuse to share contacts of previous clients, or don’t understand your project vision. This is a clear sign that you should look for another service provider
ERP development may be a logical step for any growing enterprise that wants to remain efficient and productive. Nevertheless, ERP development itself is a very complex and multi-stage process that requires disparate skills and expertise, which is why many organizations prefer to get assistance from third-party ERP consultants.
Given that the choice of an ERP consultant is one of the essential decisions directly affecting the project’s success, enterprises should take the selection process as seriously as possible. At Itransition, we believe that a clear understanding of business requirements and thorough candidate analysis are the steps that can help you make the best choice when searching for an ERP consultant.