The VAR is as Important as the ERP

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When considering a new or updated ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), selecting both the system and the implementation partner (also referred to as a Value-Added Reseller or VAR) is critical and requires thorough research and consideration. Do your homework!

In addition to evaluating ERP solutions that align with your business needs and goals, it's equally important to carefully select an implementation partner that can effectively guide you through the process and provide ongoing training and support for your project's success.

Do Your Due Diligence

To assist in the selection process, we recommend you ask a multitude of questions before committing to a VAR. Beyond inquiring about features and pricing, it's crucial to assess the team's expertise and experience in your industry, available training for your employees, and the level of ongoing support provided. Ask for references and follow up on them. Your potential partner should be happy to provide them.

Create a discovery document to provide insight into the essential inquiries and identify warning signs. This document is vital to your due diligence, especially when faced with unexpected challenges of a new system and implementation.

9 Critical Questions for Vetting VARs:

1. What makes your implementation process successful?

Even though business management systems have evolved to be more user-friendly and intuitive, the process of implementing them remains challenging. Essentially, you require a partner who comprehends your business needs and can implement the solution to enhance operational efficiency and financial gains. Ideally, you should select a partner with a proven track record of successful implementations. Ask for references!

2. How can our company contribute to project success?

Some companies mistakenly assume that their ERP implementation partner will handle all the work for them. To maximize the value of ERP implementation, it's crucial for everyone in the organization to actively participate and grasp the purpose, process, and their role in the implementation.

3. What is your approach to change management and training?

Talk with your partner to explore possibly breaking the project into smaller phases. This approach can reduce disruption and provide employees with the opportunity to gradually adjust to the new system. Collaborating with your partner, you can identify priorities and address the most critical challenges as a first step.

4. How will we define and measure success?

Your partner should furnish the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) corresponding to each project objective, enabling you to track progress effectively. These KPIs should not only be monitored throughout the ERP implementation process but should also offer continuous feedback on company advancement. A few examples could include:

  • Improve customer experience
  • Improve sales performance
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase profits

5. How will you assign people to our project?

The success of a project hinges on the performance of the project delivery team, not on the sales team selling the services! This team typically comprises the project manager, solution architect, engagement manager, and consultants. It is essential to inquire whether the team assignments are based on their expertise relevant to your business needs rather than just availability. Additionally, your partner should be willing to furnish concise resumes of the project team members.

6. What makes your company more qualified than the competitor?

The majority of partners you engage with will probably possess a comprehensive grasp of the software; however, their familiarity with your industry holds equal significance. A partner experienced in your industry has acquired valuable insights into the best practices employed by other organizations. They have garnered knowledge from applying the software to address industry-specific challenges and requirements, ultimately saving you time and enhancing the solution's impact on productivity and profits.

7. How do you handle integrations and customizations?

The standard ERP functionality is tailored to accommodate the most prevalent business processes. Nonetheless, the majority of organizations possess unique processes and requirements that may not align with the "standard" functionality. In such cases, there are often ISV (Independent Software Vendor) solutions that can address these gaps or offer industry-specific features (although custom code development may be necessary at times). It is essential for your partner to be prepared to discuss the possibility of customizations and to collaborate with you to determine the optimal solution.

8. How often do you go over budget on implementations?

Numerous factors can contribute to a project exceeding its budget. At times, scope creep can be the culprit, leading to the expansion of the project beyond its original scope. Additionally, unforeseen issues, such as unexpected business processes or integration requirements, can pop up, requiring custom solutions. Furthermore, underestimating the training and change management needs of users can also impact the budget. It's crucial for your partner to disclose the frequency of budget overruns in their projects and outline the processes they have in place to address such occurrences.

9. How does the size of your organization influence your services?

The scale of your implementation partner's organization can greatly influence the management of your project. A larger firm may have access to a broader range of consulting resources, while a smaller, local, or industry-focused professional team might offer a more personalized service. Asking the right questions can help you identify a partner that aligns with your expectations and effectively meets your needs.

We Want You to Be Tough on Us, Too!

In full disclosure, Express Info is not a perfect fit for EVERY opportunity that is presented to us. We want clients for life, and these questions are a great way to see if we are a mutual fit.

Express Info Success Stories

However, we do take pride in our 35 years of experience serving the business community, our ERP implementation methodology, industry knowledge, credentials, and reputation. Read what TSAOG considers a success when they streamlined their month-end close by 33% or how another Sage Intacct happy customer, Springbuk, decreased their accounting close by 73%!

Let's win together! ???? If you’re ready to transform your organization’s financial landscape, let’s explore how working with Express can be your catalyst for success. Reach out to our team or, if you're ready... book a demo — we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

 

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