In Aberdeen Research’s survey of companies deploying ERP, they asked about their use of third-party consultants. On average, just over half of surveyed firms used outside help, more so among respondents who were deemed ‘best-in-class.’
Quoting the report directly, Aberdeen stated:
“Some organizations need help in the ERP selection and implementation process. This is especially beneficial for those implementing ERP for the first time. Over half of all respondents solicit third-party support during the ERP implementation process. This support can have a huge effect on the success of the ERP implementation. This support can include analysis of business processes, system implementation and configuration, software customization and integrating, training, IT staffing and implementation auditing. These tools facilitate the ERP project and help to produce greater benefits.
“Just as it is important to know what to look for when selecting an ERP, it is also important to know what to look for when selecting services. Best-in-Class organizations are less likely than all others to be selecting services based solely on cost. Local support, global capabilities, and vendor references are important, but where the Best-in-Class are differentiating themselves in the selection of services is in choosing on the basis of the relationship of the services firm with the vendor. If a firm has a good relationship with the ERP software vendor, that firm will probably have the knowledge of the software to best help in its implementation. By partnering these firms with the software vendor, the organization can get the attention they need to implement successfully.”
Aberdeen’s research shows that cost of services mattered far less to Best-in-Class firms than it did to others. Local support and relationship to vendor were most important to them. Vendor references were of much lower importance to the best-in-class.
One is led to conclude that the relationship between customer and service provider, and their ability to understand the client’s business at the same time as they understand the software they are providing, are the keys to success.
We ourselves have concluded in our 25 years of doing this that the basis of this lies in trust and experience. The trust between client and trusted adviser, and the experience that comes of knowledgeable providers who know their software. It’s a big leap of faith for some, and a costly one. Sorting out the trustworthy from the not-so takes some diligence and effort. But satisfied clients with successful (i.e., “Best in Class”) ERP solutions are the proof that the effort is worthwhile, and success a very real possibility.
In our final post in this series, coming next, we’ll look atAberdeen’s conclusions for Steps to Success.