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Choosing the Right ERP Implementation Partner

Most ERP solutions can be implemented by a variety of integrators in very broad channels. Finding the best one for you can be a challenging task.

When selecting an ERP system for your business, the decision on which software to select can sometimes be an easier one than selecting the implementation partner. Your software evaluation criteria will include functional fit, upfront cost and total cost of ownership. You may have some specific technical requirements as well as functional ones or you may be interested in the overall functional and technical ecosystem that the vendor can provide around the ERP. 

However, in conjunction with this you need to choose the right implementation partner or systems integrator. Most ERP solutions can be implemented by a variety of integrators in very broad channels. Finding the best one for you can be a challenging task.

Why is it so important to choose the right implementation partner? They will be with you every step of the way through the implementation, and more than likely will be the ones to support you after the implementation. So they will be a key factor in the project’s success or failure. 

They will bring strong knowledge of the ERP system, but they also need to understand your business processes and how the system can be best implemented for you. A good fit implementation partner will bring industry knowledge. They should have strong project management skills to help you to avoid scope creep, assist you with meeting project milestones and timelines, and avoid budget overruns. They should have functional and technical specialists with experience of working with organisations like yours.

Choosing the Right ERP Implementation Partner

 

You should look to understand the following when selecting an implementation partner:

  • Do they have track record in your industry?
  • Can they support your geographies?
  • Are they selling the software (a reseller) or just the services (an integrator) – commercial motivations vary depending on the model.
  • What is their implementation methodology? Do they follow it? What kind of deliverables can you expect during the project – quality varies.
  • What team structure are they proposing and what are the skillsets of the proposed team members?
  • What will the post-implementation support structure be and what SLA’s will apply?
  • Are they a good fit for your organisational culture? Can you work together?

 

Assessing such evaluation criteria should be performed as you move through a selection process. Lumenia ERP Selection process uses a variety of tools and techniques to evaluate the partner as well as the software. These include:

  • Request for Information (RFI) document – initial engagement with the opportunity to present their implementation methodology among other high-level information.
  • Demonstration scripts – helps to show system and industry knowledge through well defined scripts.
  • Invitation to Tender (ITT) document – detailed information about team structure, skillset, and approach to post-implementation support requested.
  • Reference checks – onsite and phone reference checks arranged to assess implementation partner’s performance in multiple areas from adhering to budget to industry knowledge.

In addition to the above the key individuals from the proposed implementation team should be interviewed or assessed, and once approved, guarantees of their ongoing assignment to the implementation should be sought.

We always say that an ERP “solutions” has two components – the software and the implementation partner. When selecting a new ERP solution, you should place considerable focus on selecting the right implementation partner as well as the ERP software or platform. They will be key to a successful ERP implementation project and will be a significant contributing factor to you achieving as much value from the solution as possible.

This blog was written by Principal Consultant, Gregg Roche at Lumenia.  For further information please send an email to Gregg Roche.