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ERP Solutions Begin With Implementation, Not End
05-23-2012 / By:
Before you can implement a solution to any problem, you first must identify the problem. Whether that is eliminating that knocking noise coming from your carís engine or increasing the profits of your company, the process is still the same. Find out whatís causing the problem, identify the solution, implement the solution, and lastly, perform the necessary care and maintenance to keep things running smoothly. Itís the first and last steps that several companies skip in search of instant results.
Too often we see mid-size companies rush into finding a solution to flagging financial reports and production inefficiencies without taking the time to get their hands dirty and do a little diagnosis. And quite frankly, it can be difficult to turn an unbiased eye on your own business processes, which is why there are so many third party ERP software consultants out there.
The difference between ERP Integrator & ERP Consultant
In a recent blog post by Eric Kimberling, he discusses the difference between hiring an ERP integrator and hiring an ERP consultant. At first glance you might be asking yourself whatís the difference? After all, any ERP consultant worth the paper their certification is printed on is going to be able to walk you through software implementation and training. But if you hire a consultant based solely on one criterion youíre liable to wind up with a cookie cutter solution that doesnít perfectly fit your business. Just like buying a suit off the rack, the arms and legs might be the right length, but without a tailor lending their expert hand, the fit might be too tight in some places and too loose in others.
Just like your company has a set of unique business processes, your ERP consultant should have business processes that go beyond software implementation. What you really need is that set of unbiased eyes to analyze each individual department of your company, identifying the areas that require the most attention. You need someone with the expertise to dig deeper than the surface issues, and customize your software solution rather than try to plug your business processes into a prefabricated solution.
Once diagnosed, integration becomes paramount. Most ERP consulting firms will be able to implement new software and provide training for your staff. What separates the true consultants from the integrators is the ability to tailor the software, whether it is Macola ES, Microsoft Dynamics or Sage 100 (formerly known as MAS 90), to fit your business like a custom suit.
What should you ask an ERP consultant?
With integrators, that is where the service ends. But with a true ERP consulting firm, integration is just the first step of the solution. There are questions that every department head and business owner needs to ask when hiring a business consultant.
A true ERP consultant will have all of those answers plus the answer to any other questions that you might have.
Your business is constantly growing and evolving, and so should your ERP solution. There is no magic button that will solve all your current and future ERP needs without occasional maintenance along the way. But if you hire an integrator rather than a consultant, you might find yourself moving from one rut to another without having truly solved your problem.
What do you think?Are you not getting the ROI from your ERP system that you hoped for? Do you need a more customized software solution?