Selecting the ideal ERP implementation partner for a company has certain similarities to the production of a car. Just as in a car manufacture, missing an important component is not only frustrating, but also a serious problem for the final result. In the same way, for an optimal result, the right components must be available. Sometimes we can save on certain issues, but buying the cheapest parts is never a good idea. The quality of the car depends to a large extent on the quality of the components and technologies used.
The components for an ERP implementation are the project team, the software, the hardware, the hosting platform and the vendor. It is important to select them carefully, choosing the best option according to the possibilities and implementing it at the right time.
Finding the right ERP implementation partner
When you think about the best ERP software you want it suit the needs of your particular business, which is obviously a very important aspect. But just as important is choosing the right ERP implementation partner to guide, implement, and support the chosen ERP. Hence the question - what is an ERP implementation partner?
In a way, the implementation ERP partner is the most important part of the project. You need to be sure that your ERP implementation partner is not only able to create and/or tailor a system that meets your organization's requirements, but can offer additional value for the particular type of company or business model and industry.
The ideal ERP implementation partner
The best ERP implementation partner to take on a management software implementation project requires a combination of knowledge, experience as well as skills to be taken into account. Below let’s list a series of criteria to take into account in order to find the right ERP implementation partner.
Each industry has its own specific needs and processes. Without understanding these industry-specific requirements, an ERP implementation partner will not be able to provide guidance and advice on the best solutions for your company.
You can expect ERP implementation partner to know the strengths, weaknesses and capabilities of the ERP you are implementing. Don't hesitate to put them to the test.
Again, this is a minimum to trust an ERP implementation partner. Having a good number of references of the specific ERP in various businesses, success stories in leading companies, and implementations in similar companies is fundamental. The ERP implementation partner should be happy to provide customer testimonials.
Support and training
Implementation is only part of the process. Before, during and after, the company needs user training and the system will need to be maintained to ensure its efficiency at all times. Your ERP implementation partner should be able to offer these two services. This will let you know what is a n ERP implementation partner.
Knowledge of the key points of the industry
Just as two industries do not use exactly the same processes, they also have different critical points, threats or risks to the business. A thorough knowledge of the industry in question ensures that you know them and can offer solutions to them.
Future of the software and the supplier
A system that solves the needs today may not do so tomorrow or may not even be available in a few years. In relation to the software, it is necessary to make sure that it has a thorough roadmap and an important number of partners to guarantee that you will not be left hanging high and dry if the current one disappears. In relation to the ERP implementation partner, it is necessary to know roughly the client portfolio, financial evolution and the proposals to adapt an ERP with guarantee of future; flexible in front of possible changes.
ERP implementation: phases and methodology
Once the ERP solution to be implemented in the company has been decided, one of the first questions to resolve is the approach to be taken to the implementation. Although there is only a limited set of steps to execute in order to do it successfully, the approaches to tackle the implementation can be diverse. In essence, the main ways of doing it would fall into two categories: waterfall methodology or Agile development.
The waterfall approach is so called because each step is assumed to flow to the next like water in a waterfall. In an ideal world, of course, because implementing an ERP is complex and that flow usually includes meanders and jumps. The waterfall concept, by definition, is made up of a series of steps that begin with the discovery phase, where the needs to be covered by the ERP are analyzed. This is also the beginning of the ERP project planning, where a project plan is defined. This is followed by a design phase, where the project team determines which components will be used and how they will be configured, as well as defining the roles of the people involved and the procedures and methodologies to be used during implementation.
In the development phase, the technical work begins, with the development of the necessary customizations, as well as the training of users and the preparation of the data to be imported into the new ERP. In the testing phase, the developments are tested, data is loaded and users are shown how the system will work. Once the tests are done, the deployment starts and if everything goes well, the ERP user training starts.
During ERP roll-out, the support phase begins, which will continue throughout the life cycle of the ERP solution, as upgrades, version migrations and maintenance tasks will be required throughout the life of the system. Support is usually more intense at the beginning, as start-up support and resolution of possible bugs and user questions.
The agile methodology: a sprint to the end
Agile methodology takes into account the difficulty of managing long projects, susceptible to changes during their execution. Agile methodology is increasingly used in ERP projects.
Agile projects also require intensive work beforehand to gather requirements, which are then used for the project plan. Unlike the previous method, instead of moving the project forward in a linear fashion, the plan is divided into short intervals called sprints. Testing is done at the end of each sprint, making the necessary adjustments; this avoids developing for a long time to find the problems at the end. The ERP Agile implementation methodology, as its name suggests, allows you to respond more quickly to changes and problems, without assuming that the project environment remains static.
Conference Room Pilot (CRP)
There’s also another way – Conference Room Pilot. See our Microsoft Dynamics 365 Implementation Services to find out more.
Your ERP Implementation Partner
Obviously, ERP projects are not usually executed by the company itself, but in the vast majority of cases an implementation partner with knowledge and experience of both the technology - ERP solution - and the way to implement it - methodology. Experience, capacity (resources) and geographical coverage are key when selecting an ERP implementation partner.
Based on our own digital transformation and experience, XPLUS has developed optimal digital consulting services and tools to accompany our clients in their own digital transformation journeys, in which our E2E (end-to-end) platforms and business solutions play a key role.
We offer various approaches to project management, from our conventional XPLUS procedural model to our Conference Room Pilot methods. There are a number of factors that determine which is the right philosophy to follow for a particular project, such as the degree of complexity and customization.
Answering the main question(s) - what is an ERP implementation partner - included
It may not be an indispensable requirement, but we consider that an ERP implementation partner must be happy, willing and able to answer any question in a short period of time. The customer should not feel uncomfortable asking as many questions as they need to know 100% that both the software and the ERP implementation partner are the right fit. Ask them too - what is an ERP implementation partner? Interesting what they will have to say…
Remember the comparison from the beginning? Car making? Implementing a new ERP system is not even close to making a car. But there are analogies. If you compromise, you may end up something closer to a cart rather than a car. I hope the components mentioned here will guide you in choosing the right ERP implementation partner. And driving your dream car. Errrr, I mean choosing the right ERP implementation partner.