This is the conclusion of a two-part post originally published over three years ago, but still very relevant today. Please start with part one, which you’ll find here. After finding their project way over the budgeted duration and dollars, our client agrees to a Business Process Analysis.
So this time around, they agreed to accept our earlier offer to provide a real analysis. When they finally fired their previous reseller, they were a quarter million dollars into the project — on a $125,000 quote – a cost overrun that was ten times the cost of the analysis we’d initially proposed. And by this time they were also about 20 months into their nine month project. And they still weren’t anywhere near “live.”
Now, here’s the thing: The type of analysis required to design an ERP implementation has to be done somewhere along the way. Think about it. You can’t prescribe a solution without knowing the problem. But doesn’t it make more sense to do the analysis first, before you make any further decisions? Our client would have been well served by doing so. By planning on the fly as they did, they ran into countless modifications and change orders (which in themselves were consistently under-quoted as well) that ultimately doubled the expected cost of their system (and remember, they still weren’t “live.”)
By separating the BPA from the rest of the work, you can make two decisions: the first is whether to proceed with the actual ERP implementation. The second is to determine whether the consulting team you’ve chosen to work with appears up to the task. And you can make both those decisions by making a commitment to a project that on average should cost only about $10,000 to $15,000.
Unfortunately, a lot of salespeople in the industry continue to tell customers what they want to hear. Customers don’t know. Technology confuses or even scares them. They want to trust and believe their providers. As such, it is incumbent upon those who provide the products and services to give clients an honest upfront assessment of the scope of their project in both time and money. After all, you can’t make a $250,000 project into a $100,000 project and expect the same results.
But you can plan, phase and budget accordingly. You can create a win-win scenario. And you can ensure that both provider and customer sleep well at night. Not every night mind you – implementing a new system is always tough and fraught with problems and issues. But done right, eventually, everyone can walk away a winner.
The lessons of our story are simple and direct. The business process analysis is the only place to start. Done right, it requires experienced consultants doing detailed work who can understand the business side of your enterprise, study your workflows, and then make appropriate recommendations. Not everyone can do it, and as to those who offer it for “free” – well, if the price sounds too good to be true… it probably is. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but it is by definition a paid engagement that sets the groundwork and provides the roadmap for the real ERP implementation work that follows.
The BPA will provide that roadmap, and often, choices too. It will tell you whether your project and associated wish list will cost $100,000, $1 million, or (likely) somewhere in between. It will tell you, at least roughly, how long to expect an implementation to take, what phases you might break it into, and what the costs of those phases are estimated to be.
And for the record, for clients who engage us for a BPA, we provide a system estimate thereafter, with no further obligation, free of charge.
And it will tell you all of that before you make a commitment to a project that you weren’t really prepared to make after all. In the last analysis, it’s the only way to go. And the best way we’ve found in over 25 years to lower the overall cost of your project.