5 Key Things You Should Look For When Selecting an ERP Software Implementation Partner

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You’ve just been assigned the task to lead a software selection project for your company’s new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and you know of some reputable packages in the market place, now what next?  There are many pre-packaged ERP software applications on the market to choose from.  Regardless of which package you choose, it will be equally important, if not even more important, the implementation Partner you choose to work with to ensure a successful project.

Some ERP software publishers have a direct sales and implementation model.  In this model you will be purchasing directly from the software publisher and then working directly with their professional services team to implement the software.  In some cases, the software publisher may also have a Partner model to choose from instead of working directly with the software publisher.  Other ERP software publishers, like Microsoft, have a Partner driven model in which you make the software evaluation and purchase along with the implementation services from a Microsoft Partner.

Regardless of which route you choose, it will be very important for you to thoroughly evaluate the implementation partner you are going to be working with to ensure a successful project.  Here are five key things you should look for in an ERP implementation Partner to help ensure your success.

  1. Certified
  2. Methodology
  3. Breadth / Depth
  4. Industry
  5. Relationship

Let’s take a look at each one of these with a little more detail.

Many software publishers now require specific certifications and exams that must be achieved in order to resell and implement their software applications.  Be sure you are working with a Partner that is certified by the software publisher to sell and implement the application.  Beyond the software certifications you should look strongly at the business and technology certifications the Partner’s professional consulting team holds.  Having strong business acumen along with technology skills will lead to a better overall implementation.

Implementing a new ERP system is no easy task.  It takes a strong proven approach to ensure success.  Make sure your implementation Partner has a proven methodology broken out into steps that will successfully lead you through the process to get the results you want and need.  If a Partner doesn’t have one, then look a different direction to find a new Partner.

Breadth and Depth
You need a Partner that has the ability to understand and execute on all the functionality the entire ERP system has.  It’s more than just accounting functionality.  If you are a distributor or manufacturer you need to make sure the Partner has skills sets in all those areas of functionality as well.  This will most likely mean you need to find a Partner that has more than just a couple certified resources.

Software applications out of the box are the same when they ship.  Where the true “value add” comes from is how the system is configured to meet your specific requirements.   Your chances of success increase greatly if you work with a Partner that understands your industry and has done many successful projects in your particular industry.  Listen for them to speak your industry language and talk about examples relevant to your industry.  Ask for references or case studies and then follow through on talking with those references.

When selecting an implementation Partner it’s important to select someone you know, you like, and you trust.  Having these three elements will go a long way in your relationship together.  Beyond these initial elements you also need to think long term after this initial project is done and a Partners ability to support you and offer value added services to you.  Things to think about are support offerings, training availability, educational events, user groups, accessibility, etc.

As you can see, selecting the right software application is only a small part of the equation.  It’s selecting the best implementation Partner to make that pre-packaged software application the right fit for your business, for today and for many years to come, that is the most important part!

If you’re in the process of selecting an ERP implementation partner, contact OTT, Inc. , and learn how our team of professionals can provide your organization with a successful implementation.

By OTT, Inc., St. Paul, Minnesota. Leading Microsoft Dynamics ERP & CRM partner.

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