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Choosing The Right Consultant Is Critical

3/15/2013 4:54:03 AM Posted by Erin Carrather

Don't Let Your ERP Implementation Fail - Why Choosing The Right Consultant Is Critical

If you are in the process of upgrading your business systems, or even thinking about it, you know how taxing a process it can be. With so many options and endless directions to go in, how do you choose the right solution provider? How do you know who to trust and who not to? After a while, everyone starts looking the same. The answer to this lies not only in the skills of the ERP provider you choose, but in the consultant you will be working with.

Without the right consultant, implementation can easily fail.  There are various reasons why an implementation could be challenged or potentially fail:

  • Lack of user input – without the appropriate feedback or input, your needs are misunderstood, and that lack of communication between you and your consultant can result in the wrong information going in and coming out of your business system
  • Incomplete requirements – will result in an incomplete implementation
  • Changing requirements – if requirements change, the implementation process needs to be reevaluated
  • Lack of executive support – without direction from the key decision makers, projects often hit a standstill
  • Technology incompetence – without a full understanding of how and why processes in the new system work, you will never be able to take full advantage of it’s benefits
  • Lack of resources – if you don’t have all the necessary resources to see the implementation from start to finish, chances are it will never cross the finish line
  • Unrealistic expectations – the end result of the implementation will never satisfy your needs if your expectations are set too high
  • Unclear objectives – if you are not on the same page as your consultant in terms of project objectives, it becomes increasingly difficult to meet your end goals
  • Unrealistic time frames – if you are rushing to complete an implementation, the possibility of inconsistencies is high
  • New technology – adopting new technology is often challenging, but not doing so results in inaccurate processes and data

Some of the above factors may show up in the form of red flags along the way, but there is a method for implementation that can overcome these challenges and position your company for future growth. By understanding where your company is at in its lifecycle, the consultant will be able to understand your immediate needs as well as future requirements on a high level. Making sure the software fits your business situation makes it easier for them to understand processes that are different and configure the system to take those into consideration, while keeping the initial investment affordable. This knowledge of industry challenges, and more importantly having a way to solve them, gives the consultant a new level of insight into tailoring the system to your specific needs.

As long as you have the right consultant and the right software, you should be able to codify any strategic processes you might have developed. At this point, your new software will be adapted to your specific strategic business processes and data is imported (bank accounts, customers, vendors, and inventory). This data will enable testing on the system and the execution of daily processes. When the system comes to life and processes are developed that will run the business, testing commences.

Third Wave’s Business Systems’ Project Methodology consists of the following steps:

 

These deliberate steps are taken to uncover the requirements and information needed to produce a solution that solves your needs today, as well as positions you for future success. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where I will go into detail on each step of the Project Methodology and take a look at how we differentiate ourselves.