It can be a daunting task selecting the right ERP Business Partner (i.e. ERP Consultant, ERP Reseller, ERP Vendor, etc.) for your next ERP initiative.
However, a few, well targeted, meaningful questions, will get you heading down the right ERP Business Partner selection path.
Here’s 10 practical questions to help you narrow down your selection process:
#1: Who Are Your ERP Consultants?
Your objective is to understand their credentials. Do they have ERP certifications? What are these certifications?
As a decision maker, you need to understand the expertise of the ERP Consultants who will be handling your ERP implementation.
Reputable ERP Vendors and Resellers should belong to a certified program for the products that they represent. For example, those who deal with Sage 300 ERP, should belong to the Sage Certified Implementation Partner Program.
Those who focus on Microsoft Dynamics should belong to the Microsoft Certified Dynamics Partner network. Similar for the other ERP vendor products.
#2: How Many Successful ERP Installations Have You Performed?
The number of implementations, the size, and the vertical market experience matter. The ERP Consultants typically has a better chance of success, the more implementations that they have performed.
ERP implementations are typically complex in nature, and require an experienced ERP Consultant to implement them successfully. The more (in terms of amount) successful ERP implementations that they have achieved, and the closer the vertical and size of organization match, the better chance of success that will be achieved.
#3: What Is Your ERP Systems Implementation Methodology?
There are various methods to implementing an ERP system successfully. Each of these methods should use a solid Project Management approach. In short, a project with a sound roll-out methodology will define important elements, such as: the deliverables, the estimated implementation date, the resources required for implementation, and the time line to implement the ERP system.
Any implementation methodology that includes a structured approach, and includes the items mentioned above, have a better chance of success.
#4: What’s Your Process To implement The ERP Systems?
Any truly experienced ERP Consultant will focus on the business first, and follow with the technology that can implement the business rules efficiently. It is exceptionally important the ERP Consultant shows sensitivities towards understanding and documenting your business from a functional/process perspective.
The experienced ERP Consultant would be able to map or transpose their functional understanding of your business processes into technical requirements. These technical requirements will indicate the required software modules, integration requirements, customization, etc.
Disclaimer: MicroSys Inc. is a Certified Sage Business Partner, and may recommend Sage Products.
#5: What’s Your ERP Customer Retention Rate?
Are many of their customers repeat customers? Or is there a high churn rate of customers? If the churn rate is low and they have many repeat customers, it indicates they have earned customer trust; One of the best honours to achieve from a client.
A high customer retention rate typically indicates that all wheels in their company (Sales, Professional Services, Client Support, etc.) are working smoothly, and they are servicing their clients well. These type of ERP Business Partners would probably serve you well too.
#6: Can You Please Provide References?
Always ask for references. References are the proof behind the talk.
If a company is confident in their solutions and services they will not hesitate to give you multiple references. At minimum they should be able to point you to LinkedIn Recommendations and website based companies and/or people testimonial content.
#7: What Guarantee And/Or Warranty Assurances Can You Give?
A guarantee/warranty typically shows the ERP Consultants are confident in their deliverables, and will therefore give you a sense of confidence to work with them.
Above and beyond the guarantee/warranty, a well versed, and experienced ERP Consultant will probably reference the importance of the deliverables in the methodologies they use; It should give you a good comfort, knowing that they’ve delivered successfully with the methodologies that they use.
#8: What Training And Support Do You Recommend?
Training and support ensures that your employees have minimal post implementation operational issues. End user and systems administrator training should take place before any go-live date, and training at periodic stages during the ERP roll-out & life.
Support should fit your business model.
Will you require ERP Business and Technical Support or just ERP Technical support?
Will your employees be using the ERP Systems 7x24x365 or 9-5, 5 days a week?
Make sure that the ERP Consultants and Vendors are able to provide the support during the times that you will require support.
#9: What Are The Costs?
Depending on the extent of the ERP implementation, costs may include licensing and professional services costs. The costs can be structured in many ways; Recurring, licensing, retainer fees, etc.
You’ll need to fully understand the terms and conditions that are associated with the pricing, and how the pricing works within your budget, business model, and budget. Make sure you understand the total cost of ownership – the cost over the life of the ERP system.
#10: What Are Your Customization And Integration Capabilities?
At some point you will most likely want to do more with the ‘out of the box’ ERP Systems. Doing so, typically leads to customization (reports or functionality), and integration with other business systems.
The solutions that your ERP Business Partner recommends should be relatively easily to customize and integrate with other services. As such, the ERP Vendor of choice should have access to a pool of experienced engineers to perform any ERP extension that your business requires. You should understand their specific experiences with integration & customization – clients, ERP environments, type of work, etc.
Wrapping Up – The ERP Consultant
Obviously there are many other reasonable and practical questions that you can ask your short listed ERP Business Partner. These ten questions, however, are the questions that will solicit key information in determining a solid ERP Business Partner/ERP Consultant.
Ready to speak with a MicroSys Inc. Sage ERP Consultant?