Hiring ERP Consultants: What are the benefits?
Enterprises are leveraging technologies to step up their game, leaving a mark on their industry. ERP software seems to be the solution since it brings multiple advantages: standardizing business processes, improving collaboration and workflows, reporting and planning, efficiency, providing data security and quality, and so on. Unfortunately, ERP is complicated.
Searching for ERP and evaluating it is difficult. There are various terms, products, markets, technologies, and implementation models. Taking Odoo app for an example, if you want to utilize ERP in your business, and you’re working in the fashion retail industry, how can you choose a few among a wide range of models offered in the app itself?
This is when ERP consultants jump in and save the day.
Who are ERP Selection Consultants?
A consultant will assist you in many ways based on your needs and requirements. Some common services include:
- Helping in defining your requirements
- Identifying vendors
- Negotiating contracts
- Selecting vendors
- Coordinating demos
- Implementing the chosen ERP
If you’re still hesitating whether you should get a consultant or not, here are some thoughts to think about.
Do we really need one?
Considering this question as your guide. Every company is different, there is no rule for you to follow, so we strongly recommend you to take these factors into consideration:
- Budget - The first reason to be reflected on. Do you have the budget? How much are you willing to pay? Consultants are obviously going to charge for the services they offer you. They are worth hiring if you don’t have time to do research on your own, especially related to ERP, they will help you to narrow down the appropriate software solution that will serve your business goals.
- Do you have a team, or executive who knows how ERP will impact your business and its digital transformation process? Most ERP consultants have return-on-investment (ROI) tools that can help you to determine whether you should invest in ERP solutions, what values it can bring.
- Evaluating software demonstration: If you have never come across an ERP solution before, you might not know the standard of a standardized software demos. Selection consultants will most likely offer you templates that can be used to grade if a vendor’s software demos meet the requirements.
- Running errands when it comes to ERP projects: when you’re happy to start the project, a selection consultant will also help in scheduling meetings, visits, calls, coordinating your schedule with your vendors’ schedules. They will then work with you as a logistics manager.
Assessing your ERP Consultants
After going through some thoughts, you have decided to hire a consultant. But there are risks contained, both from the prospective customer side and from the ERP vendor side. In order to help you vet your potential ERP consultants for experience, risk minimization, here are some points to consider.
Avoid a consultant who only recommends you the vendor he or she has a relationship with. A decent consultant will provide you a meticulous list of vendors to consider and guide you toward the one who suits you the best.
He or she should also provide you with services relating to the solution he or she recommends. In order to maximize the experience, you can always ask for more than one reference. If all references have used the same solution, there is a chance that the consultant is maneuvering clients toward one particular solution.
Make an evaluation, and understand comprehensively the case study and rationale behind it to ensure that the vendor delivers the best solution tackling his or her clients’ problem.
Another thing to keep in mind is that does the consultant asks tough questions for every potential vendor? How they interact with vendors most of the time determines there is no favoritism.
Evaluation processes with consultants
As mentioned before, selection consultants have enough tools for evaluating ERP solutions, grading demos, all best practices for their clients. A typical approach is to make all vendors perform the same demo with the same process.
The consultant has full ‘control’ over the evaluation process. By following the process controlled and dictated by the consultant, there is no way for vendors to differentiate themselves from others.
You will be able to see the full landscape of what they can do for you, and since they are your potential long-term strategic partners, this is proven to be one of the best approaches to evaluate the process.
However, the role of ERP consultants is to be an advisor, you don’t want your consultants to be 100 percent involved in your decision, nor the ERP’s vendors’ job. If you are cooking some meals, a cookbook is just a guideline for ensuring that the dish you’re making turns out to be great, it is critical but not irreplaceable, and you don’t have to always follow the cookbook.
An ERP selection consultants’ role is the same as the cookbook. By structuring the responsibilities this way, you will be able to give more accurate decisions, and effectively evaluate your vendor and software. They can ask questions and advise your team, bring clarity to both parties when there is a confusion or breakdown in communication. This way brings more freedom for everyone to explore their options and allow relationships to develop.
If you have decided to use a selection consultant, have a look at our company’s website and case studies, we have lots of information to provide. Talk to one of our experts today to find out if we are the best fit for your business and working culture.