ERP Selection: Working with a Consultant
Does your SME want to kick off an ERP project but does not know where to start? Does it seem too complicated? Do you want to make sure you are investing in the best possible management system for your business? For an investment like this, using the services of an ERP consultant could be wise. An expert’s opinion is precious! What does their work entail? How do they bring added value? Here are a few details to help you better understand what they do.
Why should I use an ERP consultant to help me choose a management software?
As a director who is well aware of the challenges your SME faces to maintain its growth, you undoubtedly know at this stage that it is now essential to invest in a management system adapted to your activities.
After doing preliminary research, many realize that it turns out to be a more difficult task. This might be you! This is a sign that advice from an ERP consultant will be useful in helping you make a decision. ERP systems are complex software indeed. They require a long and meticulous needs and business process analysis before you even make your decision.
It is also necessary to have a good understanding of the ERP market, know which solutions are offered and what your competition is using. Often, SMEs compare and choose systems that do not match the scale of their activities and revenue. An SME should not choose the same ERP as a multinational company. Conversely, choosing software solely because it is low-priced will likely mean having to change it in a few years. This system no longer is able to support your business.
Finally, knowing the best practises and seeing examples will add another tool in your toolbox to make sure your project succeeds. A consultant will be able to advise you in all of these areas.
How can a consultant help me?
It all depends on the level of expertise you need and the budget you set aside for a consultant.
In all cases, an ERP consultant should support you beyond simply choosing software, such as being there for the entirety of the project, starting from the needs analysis, choosing the system, onboarding your team, managing the changes tied to its implementation to finally implementing new workflows.
In some cases, an ERP consultant will also act as the internal implementation project manager or act as an arbitrator within the steering committee when the software supplier or your team loses sight of the project’s goal.
Which criteria should I use to choose an ERP consultant?
After having made the choice to use a consultant, this question comes up naturally: A good ERP consultant should thus bring together the skills and the following qualifications: what makes for an ideal consultant?
You call on an ERP consultant to take the reigns of your project, it is therefore key that they fully understand your expectations and your business reality. As a primary partner, they will support you throughout the selection process and will also help onboard your teams onto the system. Good listening skills are key.
Additionally, working with a consultant who is able to answer your questions and ease potential worries which will create a relationship of trust.
To optimize the return on your ERP investment, the software will have to match the specifics of your industry. As each system is vastly different than the other. Make sure that your consultant is an ERP expert in your industry and for companies the same size as you. Please do not hesitate to ask your industry peers which ERP consultant they have worked within the past.
An ERP consultant will have to vulgarize the sometimes-complicated features of an ERP to make it easier for you to choose and adopt a system. Their ability to clearly communicate business best practises will be key to better prepare you for supplier demonstrations.
They should also be able to explain the different steps needed to maximize your chance of success and assuage your fears. As is often the case for the cost of the software itself. It is all too often seen as an expense rather than a long-term investment into organizational efficiency. A consultant will be able to calculate a return on investment so you will feel better about your choice.
Using an ERP consultant specialized in your industry can be a valuable asset to help you choose a management system. It is therefore important that you also carefully choose your consultant to make sure the odds are in your project’s favour.