Selecting the right ERP technology is an important step in driving your business forward. Researching and evaluating is only a small part of the process because the implementation also plays a huge role in the success of the project. So, choosing the right partner who will lead the implementation is also important, and ensure it is used to maximise effectiveness in driving your processes, is just as crucial. Without the right partner in place, you could face months of struggle and disruption or, ultimately, a failed project.
How to choose the right partner
At the same time as reviewing ERP systems, you need to take some time to evaluate the partners that will be providing the solution to you. Here are some of the factors you should consider when reviewing your technology partner.
Stability and history
You will need to review your prospective partner's history and judge whether they will be a stable partner. They need to be with you throughout each step of the implementation, roll out, go-live and provide you with ongoing support. Consider asking for information such as, how long the company has been in business, financial information you can check on or ask for an organisational structure outlining the key roles in the business.
Review the firm’s experience in your industry and the system’s application in businesses like yours. You’ll need a partner who brings with them a team of experienced professionals seasoned in working with their system and within your sector. Ask them to describe their most successful implementation and then ask them what has been their least successful. Then ask why and how they learnt from each project.
Sometimes a difficult factor to evaluate due to intangibility, but reputation is key to your partner selection. Reference calls to existing clients should provide you with insight - which is valuable when you need to work with a team in the long-term. Your chosen partner should not mind you talking to a couple of their existing customers. If your potential partners are not forthcoming with references, steer clear.
Your preferred candidate for a partner should have a record of successful projects like your own. They should mention them throughout the selection process. If you don’t hear them mention names that you can check out, then beware. Also, ask for references and background information for the individual consultants who will be working with you.
Choose a partner who has a sound implementation plan, a plan that is tried and tested through the years. Look for a well-defined methodology which has been successful in recent times. Ask the prospective partner to fully describe and illustrate their implementation methodology or process, identifying key roles, timescales and deliverables.
Too many companies focus on the wrong things when choosing an ERP technology partner. Successful business IT projects is as much about business and business processes as they are about technical knowledge. You need a partner who understands business, brings a technical solution and who has built a clear handle on your operations by effectively mapping your processes.
As you evaluate each prospective partner, consider whether their structure, planning and people are a good fit for your company. Select a partner who shares your values and who are committed to your success. You need to be comfortable working with these people and they need to integrate and interact successfully with your own project team.
As the authors and distributors of WinMan ERP software, we will deliver, implement and support our comprehensive all-in-one system. Our ERP solution is a non-modular integrated system that can help manufacturers and distributors streamline their business processes. Contact us today for more information.