Guide to ERP Consulting Company Selection
ERP Consultants - who are they?
Enterprise Resource Management or ERP (e.g. SAP ERP Solution, Odoo ERP) is probably no longer an unfamiliar term in today’s world. This integrated software suite gathers and organizes business information and data that automates many functions like production, distribution, supplies, sales quoting, after-sales, accounting, financial management, human resources, decision-making, e-commerce, and so on.
Any business resources can be handled carefully, no matter if it is raw materials for manufacturing or for human resources. ERP facilitates company operations in almost every department.
However, because it covers a wide range of work in many domains, it is complicated. Many companies find it difficult to deploy. This is when ERP consultants jump in.
ERP consultants who are specialized in selecting and implementing ERP systems will help businesses to choose and evaluate which type of ERP is the most suitable.
Types of ERP Consultants
An ERP consultant can be an expert in a specific field such as finance, human resource, e-commerce, manufacturing, etc, or an expert in the use of ERP solutions such as SAP ERP. ERP consultant’s role is to advise his or her client on how to choose the compatible ERP by analyzing clients’ needs and expectations since there are many types depending on the industry and implementation.
Types of consultants you are likely to encounter when looking for a consultant are:
Functional or Business Consultant
An ERP functional consultant is also known as an ERP implementation consultant in most cases is the first point of contact with clients. He or she is a business analyst in essence, with an excellent understanding of systems. He or she might not be good at building the systems but their functional knowledge will be enough to enable the whole team to perform, customize, migrate, and improve the ERP system.
An ERP functional consultant knows about the business processes and the dependencies between different modules to make sure the solution will meet the business requirements.
When hiring a functional business consultant, expect him or her to review the existing business processes and advise you to remodel them to adapt the capabilities of the ERP solution better.
Slightly different from an ERP functional consultant is a technical consultant. He or she will supply technical support to clients in order to fill the gaps. Sometimes, he or she also requires to develop functional knowledge according to the client's business sector and processes. A technical consultant's duties are implementing software solutions, enhancing the systems, and resolving any issue, he or she must produce technical specifications describing the contents of the delivery. He or she is also responsible for defining and implementing the solutions’ architecture around the client’s ERP.
Depending on the size of the project, a technical consultant can play a functional role to support the ERP functional consultant. A technical consultant is proficient in many programming languages related to ERP, but he or she is different from a software developer. Think of a consultant as a contractor who you hire to remodel your bathroom or kitchen, while a software developer usually makes some kind of product. He or she will also have a deep understanding of the industry’s unique requirements.
Subject Matter Expert (SME)
A Subject Matter Expert (SME) is the one person who knows the information that everyone needs to know in one specific company or industry. Imagine you’re reading a cookbook, have you ever wondered who wrote that book? A copywriter. But a copywriter can’t write a book by him or herself, he or she needs to have help from an expert in cooking, that expert is an SME. In a digital transformation project, an SME is someone who has an in-depth knowledge of the industry and understands the operations and history of the organization he or she is working for.
SMEs act as catalysts for the external team (technical or functional consultant, outsourcing team) to better understand the existing processes in an ERP project or in any other project.
Without their involvement, the delivery team will have fewer insights, less business process review, vague requirements definition, and development priorities; therefore, the delivery team would be less capable to successfully deliver the project.
A Qualified ERP Consultant Is
Someone who is good at listening.
Someone who is an excellent educator and communicator. He or she is normally an outstanding writer who knows how to summarize the scope of work, or any other information in a succinct way.
An ERP consultant's extensive and thorough technical knowledge and skills will enable him or her to be independent.
Each consultant is specialized in specific industries and can provide solutions to his or her clients.
An expert consultant must have great social skills to be able to engage with clients and people in various industries to learn about all aspects and needs of a company.
Other skill-set an ERP consultant must have: strong analytical and synthesis skills, leadership, organizational, interpersonal communication, financial, or accounting knowledge (this is a plus).
ERP Consultant Responsibilities
ERP consultants must conduct research and propose solutions to improve the company’s functioning using best practices. Their responsibilities include:
- Working with ERP Software
- Documenting the state of ERP configuration
- Analyzing and understanding existing software
- Assisting the technical team with change management and technical skills
- Advising companies with the selection
- Redesigning the business's processes by adapting ERP
- Helping clients to deploy and start-up the ERP operation
How to select an ERP Consulting Company
It is undeniable that ERPs are an essential tool to help optimize businesses’ management and operation, they are powerful tools you can make use of, but it is somewhat a difficult choice to make.
A right ERP consulting partner, a great team will benefit you in your digital transformation project. No ERP will be brought into play without the human behind the system, we are referring to ERP consulting firms. Some criteria you can consider when selecting your consultant are:
- Background: know who you are buying from
- Consultant’s experience - what experience do they have? Ask for their portfolio and case studies
- Individual consultants’ experience - make sure that the consultant you’re going to work with has skills that are in alignment with your industry
- Determine your requirements and map out your budget and timescale
- Conduct comparison among consultants or consulting companies
- Take your time and get it right
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We cover the following technological products: SAP ERP consulting and implementation, DevOps consulting and cloud managed services, Salesforce implementation and customization, Machine learning and AI, Blockchain development, software development outsourcing.
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