ERP is like surgery, and if you're going to approach anything as complicated and process-based as this, you're going to want to understand what the surgeon is going to do between the anesthesia and sewing up.
Over the past few months, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of an ERP partner in an implementation project. From developing the skills to configure a product to your needs to having the expertise to help you get value today and tomorrow, the company you hire to lead you through this process is nearly as important as the product you choose. After all, even if you choose the right software for your needs, a bad partner fit could ruin the project.
Knowing this, being able to understand the work they will do for you before and during the project should be your top priority. Today, we look at some of the work that an ERP partner is going to put in and the things you can expect during the implementation process.
The Role of an ERP Partner in the Pre-Selection Process
Did you know that an ERP Partner can help you long before you come to a conclusion on the software you use? From offering you pointers on the internal processes before selection to helping you set goals and documenting needs, many companies serve to benefit from speaking with an ERP reseller long before they land on a solution.
Why? Simple. They’ve been there before. Experienced companies can often help you identify red flags that might happen in the early phases and will steer you in the right direction. Here are just a few areas companies overlook and the ways that the right partner can help.
Needs Documentation and Communication
Figuring out what you need and telling both end users and executives the path forward go hand in hand. Lack of communication can end up with a mutiny from users who felt the company ignored their concerns. Lack of needs analysis can lead you down the wrong path, and in turn could result in a poorly generated ROI analysis when attempting to secure funding.
- As discussed in our blog on the most important first steps in selecting an ERP solution, the process of laying the framework and rallying the troops is vital, helping you to answer the following:
- - Why do you need a new solution?
- - What do we need from a solution?
- - What do we expect from this project?
- - What’s important to your people?
- - What kind of value can we get out of a project?
How a Partner Like Cloud 9 ERP Solutions Can Help
Rarely do companies incorporate the help of implementation partners at this phase of the journey. Often, you’re not looking at a single vendor, so you may wonder whether or not an implementation partner can help. They can.
Even in the early phases, these organizations are going to have experience with the concerns that decision makers, funders, and employees may have. Is this company trying to make a sale? Of course. But the insight they can provide is incomparable. At this phase, your reseller can help you improve communications with your users, generate hype, and document your needs more effectively.
Narrowing Your List
As you move toward a selection, you’re going to need to compare processes, features, and interfaces. At this stage, you’re going to whittle down your list of potential matches from a long list of available solutions to a ‘mid-sized’ list.
How an ERP Partner Facilitates Your Decision
Narrowing your list from the long to the short list will require you to focus on functionality, ease of use, and support. Who better to demonstrate all of these than the companies who already have heard from you and know what your goals, expectations, and needs are?
It’s at this phase where you can see if this implementation partner is the right fit for you. Something we touched on in our article titled three secrets to ERP implementation success, being able to demo with real data can do a lot more for you—and it’s at this phase the company has proved trustworthy enough to have it.
It’s also at this time thet you’ve probably answered questions like: Are they honest? Do they understand you? Are you culturally aligned? As this company knows you, you will get much more value from a demo than you would from a generic presentation.
The Implementation Process: When ERP Partners Do the Work
Leading up to the final selection, this would normally be where you select a vendor and then start looking at partners. But if you started talking with a company before this, the ramp up to the implementation project will be much shorter.
There’s no reason why a well-organized and managed implementation team, with adequate budget and a reasonable time frame, backed by strong senior management commitment, and a clear goal and direction, can’t be successful. And this is the true value of an implementation partner—not only helping you to avoid failure but thrive with ERP.
As the company already knows your business preferences, needs, and expectations, they will be able to present you with a truly accurate quote and present a methodology that they know will work for you.
During this phase, the company will get to work, configuring the solution, transferring the data, preparing the users for go-live and more. ERP implementations are complicated procedures that can take months or even years. It’s critical that the partner selected is able to communicate clearly and consistently.
It’s essential that contacts respond quickly to concerns and then listen thoroughly, providing solutions that made sense to the company’s needs.
Let’s Get to Work: Cloud 9 ERP Solutions
At Cloud 9 ERP Solutions, we don’t like the term value-added reseller. Do we resell software from a top vendor (Acumatica) in the business management software space? Yes. Do we add value? Our customers certainly think so. But we’re putting a lot more on the table than that.
After more than 30 years’ experience making business management software work for our clients, we never thought of ourselves as simply resellers—we thought of ourselves as partners. We still put our name on the line for every project and our best resources for each job.