Whether you are choosing your first ERP system or upgrading, you will be faced with a big, and potentially costly, decision. So why hire an ERP consultancy that is going to add to that cost?
To sum it up in one word – safety.
A good ERP consultancy will bring a set of skills and experience that provide safety to your project in several keyways.
5 Reasons to Hire an ERP Consultancy
1. ERP Marketplace Knowledge
Many companies do not have the experience of a wide variety of different ERP systems. You may have somebody with knowledge of the large systems on your team but even they are likely to have only seen it in very specific scenarios. If you hire an ERP consultancy you gain access to knowledge of more systems and how features can apply to what your company needs.
2. Clear Project Methodology
Part of the reason you get safety when you hire an ERP consultancy is because they come armed with a clear project methodology. This allows there to be a logical process for any project that ensures no vital part is left out and will have been tested and tweaked over multiple projects.
3. Robust Scoring Matrix
Many companies fall into the trap of thinking they know what they need from their new ERP system. They may focus on one or two key functionalities while failing to correctly weigh the benefits of other parts of the system. When it comes to see vendor demos, they then struggle to value the entire package as they only look for their key wants. A robust scoring matrix is there to weigh up all elements of a solution to ensure that you choose the system that best supports your entire business’ needs rather than solely one or two features.
4. Independent Advice
Although this will not apply to all, if you work with an independent ERP consultancy like us, you know that you have access to unbiased advice. You can feel safe in the knowledge that any recommendations are based on your requirements and not because the company is partnered with an ERP vendor.
5. Dedicated Risk Management
When you only use internal teams to deliver a complex ERP project you often have people who are juggling their day job too. This results in tied up resources as well increased likely hood of missing a key detail that disaster is about to strike. When you hire an ERP consultancy you gain the benefit of having a dedicated manager who knows how to mitigate and avoid common risks. This safety net can be the difference between a successful project and a disaster.
When to Hire an ERP Consultancy
The next problem is that it can be confusing for companies to know when to hire an ERP consultancy, especially if it is an area they have no previous experience with.
However, there is a simple answer – a good ERP consultancy can help you at any stage!
Before an ERP Project
Before a project has begun there is a lot of value that an ERP consultancy can add. They can start by looking at your business processes and current ways of working to help you understand what you need an ERP system to do. A good consultant will also show you what is possible based on their knowledge of best practice within your industry, highlighting improvement opportunities across your business.
Completing this Requirements Gathering process goes a long way in ensuring the Selection Stage looks at relevant solutions to your business needs and reduces the chance of going with a system that is not fit for purpose.
During a Project
Although during a project might be the most obvious time of when to hire an ERP consultancy, there are a variety of roles that an ERP consultant can fill. The main role will often be as a project manager, helping to keep things on track and moving forward while communicating with teams and vendors. This is often overlooked when only internal teams are used since many people still have their normal job to juggle as well.
Other roles are often more technical in nature, such as ensuring modules are set up correctly, delivering training, or database migration.
The best ERP consultancies will be able to tackle a variety of roles and are ready to lend a hand across the project when needed.
After a Project
It might seem strange to continue using an ERP consultancy once a project is complete, but we have found many clients benefit from having ad-hoc support. This can be useful for ensuring the new system is being utilised to its full potential or fixing issues that can crop up from time to time. After making a large investment in the technology it is worth spending a small bit more to ensure you are receiving the full business benefit.
What to Look for When Hiring an ERP Consultancy
The final thing to consider if you are going to hire an ERP consultancy, is what you should look for in the company.
Below we have listed 5 of the most important things to look for when deciding which ERP consultancy to hire.
The biggest thing to look for when hiring an ERP consultancy is their experience in delivering projects successfully. A consultancy with nothing to hide can show a history of projects, break down the role that they played, and show how they would tackle your project.
You should not be afraid to ask tough questions about previous projects they worked on, and many will be happy to give you references so you can ask previous clients about the project.
2. Industry Knowledge
While the skillset of an ERP consultancy is transferable and works across industries, there are times where you would want to work with a consultancy who has experience in your industry. Usually this would be in specialised sectors, such as Food & Drink, where complex rules and regulations are at play. Hiring an ERP consultancy with experience in your industry will speed up the project as they already know what these regulations are, as well as common problems that can arise when addressing them.
3. System Knowledge
System knowledge can be a tough area. Should you work with someone who has experienced many different systems or with someone who has exclusive experience with the system you are choosing?
We believe that working with an ERP consultancy who has seen many systems will provide the best return on average. They will have experienced a wider variety of problems and know how to overcome them which can keep a project on track. The wide experience also means they will have seen what best practice looks like for different systems and can bring detailed insight to boost your ROI.
A key part of a successful ERP project is the methodology being used throughout it. When considering an ERP consultancy, you should look at how they approach the selection process, how they will handle the implementation, and their approach to training.
Look for an ERP consultancy that focuses on people, processes, and systems to ensure you hire a company that has your business interest at heart. This will help you find a system that supports how your business runs, rather than having to adapt to suit the system.
An independent ERP consultancy is one that has no ties to any ERP vendor or system. This means they do not benefit in anyway from recommending a particular system, allowing them to give you a technology agnostic view.
Truly independent ERP consultancies will have your company’s best interests at heart and will only make recommendations based on their experience and what will help solve your problem.
Now that we have covered why and when to hire an ERP consultancy, along with what to look for, you should be able to make an informed decision if it is the right approach for you.
If you would like to see how Optimum could help with your ERP project, be sure to get in touch with us today for a free discovery call.