Opting to invest in a new ERP implementation is a significant decision for a business – timing, approach and objectives all need to be carefully considered before embarking on the project. Many businesses choose not to embark on this journey alone. They select a partner to help them design, implement and roll out the right ERP solution for them. Finding the right partner is incredibly important – this is going to be a long journey, potentially as long as 24 months. You need to find a partner you can trust, seamlessly integrate into your team and, most importantly, will help you achieve what you set out to achieve.
To help you with this process, we’ve put together a list of the key things you should consider, and questions you should ask of both your potential partner and yourselves, before signing on that dotted line.
Vendor or reseller?
First and foremost, you need to determine who you are going to be licensing the software itself from. We will cover this in more detail in another post, but there a number of upsides and downsides to each approach. Essentially, you’re choosing between buying the software directly from the provider, or purchasing through an authorised partner (reseller). You may often find that purchasing through a reseller will enable you to access discounts or special pricing, obtained through their relationship with the vendor. They are also likely to offer some value-added services such as consultancy, implementation, customisation and on-going technical and functional support.
Is it official?
On that note, if you decide to go for the reseller approach, it’s a good idea to validate their relationship with the vendor. It’s best to ascertain that your chosen supplier is an official, authorised reseller of your chosen software. The higher up the partner structure they are, the better. You should also look into whether they have multiple vendor relationships or just one. Often a focus on one vendor is a good indicator of a highly established relationship and a level of expertise you won’t necessarily find from a reseller with multiple vendor relationships. This process will differ depending on your approach. You might elect to find an implementation partner first, then ask them for a recommendation on which software vendor to lead with. Or you may decide on the software and select a reseller. If the latter is your chosen approach, it’s worth exploring the official channels – look through the software vendor’s website for a “find a reseller” or partner page.
Do they have experience in your industry?
It’s common for ERP providers to specialise, or have strong experience, in one or two specific industries. Is your industry one of those? It’s probably a good idea to select a partner who knows your industry inside out, or at the very least has executed at least one project in your vertical. This saves valuable time as the consultant already gets the processes, challenges and regulations involved with operating in your specific industry, so they can quickly get on with getting to know your individual business and building a solution that’s right for you.
Is it a good fit?
This is probably the most important point to consider – can you see your organisation working with their organisation? As mentioned at the very start of this blog post, an ERP implementation is a long process and switching partners in the middle of that process is far from ideal. That switch will cost you valuable time and quite likely result in a massive budget overspend. It’s important to ensure your decision isn’t just about price, or even about purely capability – you should make sure that the values of your organisation and the values of your ERP partner mesh. Ideally, their consultants will become an extended part of your team, so it’s important to make sure they fit. Are your respective expectations aligned? Do they fully understand your business and your objectives? If the answer to either of those is no, it’s probably a good idea to keep looking.
Selecting the right partner for your ERP implementation project is a key part of determining its success. Assemble the right team, with the right knowledge, skills, experience and shared goals, and you will already be setting off on the right path. If you’d like to talk to us about an ERP project, just get in touch.