How to Select the Right Implementation Partner
When you’re ready to deploy a new ERP solution, selecting the right software is only part of the equation. The success of your deployment also depends on finding the right ERP implementation partner. An ERP deployment is a complex undertaking. You need a trusted partner who can execute on your requirements while offering guidance and leadership throughout the process. The ideal ERP partner will work with you to develop a deployment plan, manage the deployment project, and provide on-going long-term support.
So how do you know if a partner is right for you? The high-level criteria outlined below will help you evaluate vendors and ensure the success of your deployment.
- Technical Expertise. Knowledge of the software is paramount to your success. ERP functionality spans numerous functional areas and requires integration with multiple operational systems. Your partner must understand not only your chosen ERP solution but also your platforms and other line-of-business systems.Look for a partner that substantiates their expertise with certifications, awards, and other recognition. All major ERP vendors certify and rank their partners. Is your partner recognized by the software vendor as a Gold Certified Partner for ERP? Do individual consultants have their certifications and credentials? Does the partner work closely with the software vendor to stay current on the technology? Do they have direct access to the development team to resolve deployment challenges? Do they have relationships with your other vendors to troubleshoot integration issues?Insist that your partner demonstrates their technical expertise to avoid challenging technical pitfalls that can compromise your deployment.
- Industry Expertise. Many of your processes and business requirements are specific to your industry. Your ERP solution must reflect these processes—and may include third-party add-ons or modules developed specifically for your industry.Look for a partner who has knowledge and experience in your particular vertical. Do they speak the same industry language as your employees? Do they understand industry best practices? Are they familiar with industry regulations and compliance requirements? Do they know the third-party solutions and add-ons that you rely on?Don’t settle for an ERP generalist. Look for a partner with a track record of successful deployments with other companies in your market. Awards and certifications from industry organizations can also demonstrate industry expertise.
- Understanding of your The unique processes and operating culture that define your business define your brand and your competitive advantage. You don’t want to be treated like every other organization, and you don’t want to be forced to adapt your processes and best practices to the software or vendor’s methodology.Your ERP partner should respect and embrace your business model—not force you to change. How well do they grasp the workloads and operational considerations that make your company unique? Can they demonstrate the software using your data and processes? Do they listen and truly understand your business? Finding a vendor that respects the qualities that have made your company successful is crucial to implementing a system that will support continued success.
- A good fit. An ERP deployment can last months, requiring hundreds of decisions and many late nights. To be successful, you must be able to work closely with your implementation partner throughout the deployment—and beyond. You need to be at ease with the people and the organization.It’s important that the partner earns your trust during the proposal process. You must be comfortable with their communication, their project management methodology, and their team structure. Do they demonstrate the professionalism and customer-service mentality your organization demands? Can they provide references from other satisfied customers? Are you confident they’ll provide consistent, reliable service over the life of your system?
If you’re in the market for ERP, contact Samooha and let us show you how we can become your trusted partner.
Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2017