Your choice of ERP partner can truly make the world of difference. The right partner will efficiently manage the project and deliver a system that enhances your business growth. The wrong partner can, unfortunately, cause some serious business disruptions and cost your business money.
So, how do you make the right choice? The answer could be as simple as asking your potential ERP partner the right questions.
Most partners will be ready with prepared answers to common questions, but coming to your initial meeting with complex, relevant questions will make your potential partner evaluate their process and experience, allowing you to uncover more about their business and decide whether they’re the right partner for you.
The right partner will welcome the tough questions, and provide you with clear, honest responses.
To help you identify the great ERP partners out there, we’ve compiled a list of important questions you should be asking your new partner, and what they should be asking you, during the evaluation stage.
1. Have you worked on similar ERP implementation projects in the past?
As you evaluate ERP solutions, it’s likely that you’ll talk to a number of potential partners. Finding the right partner to work with is just as important as finding the right ERP solution. So how can you decide which ERP partner is the right one for you?
The partners you talk to will likely have an in-depth understanding of the software, but their knowledge of your industry is equally important.
Most partners will have ample experience with implementation projects, but it’s always helpful to ask for specific examples where they have worked on a similar project previously.
Certifications can provide insight into how closely the partner is aligned with the suggested software. Technical, industry, and functional certifications achieved by the team who will work on your project are also a great indicator of experience in specific sectors.
Working with an ERP partner that has worked with similar organisations to your own are more likely to be able to explain the process and provide proactive solutions to problems you may not have foreseen had you chosen to work with a less experienced competitor instead.
2. Do you offer training and support services?
If your new ERP system is going to be effective, it will come with plenty of changes. Your chosen ERP partner should be well-accomplished in change management, and they should come to you with a plan from the outset to help you prepare your team.
A thorough training plan should include support before, during and after the implementation. The right partner will recognise that the training plan should also consider different learning styles to help any team members that are struggling with the change.
At Nolan Business Solutions, we know that everyone needs support from time to time, especially when it comes to keeping your systems running effectively. That’s why we provide a tailored support plan with a personal account manager, so you can be confident that there is always someone available who will know your system.
3. How do you handle customisations to the ERP system?
Every business has its own unique operating processes and, fortunately, ERP software can be customised to meet the needs of the business, eliminating any features and functionalities that simply aren’t required.
Your partner should be prepared to discuss the potential for customisations and how you will work collaboratively to find the best solution. If your partner has extensive experience in your industry, they will already be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the ERP system for your business.
A custom ERP solution can go a long way towards ensuring your business ends up with the platform that will most effectively meet its needs.
4. How will you ensure our implementation stays on time and within budget?
There are many reasons that a project could potentially go over budget. There are instances where the project expands to include more than was originally proposed. There are also projects where unknown issues comes up, that can only be solved through a customisation.
As with any business objective, communication is key when it comes to achieving budget and timeline goals. Your partner should be able to tell you how often their projects go over budget, and what processes they have in place when this does happen.
Your ERP partner should also provide a documented implementation process, which details how the project will be managed.
When it comes to delivering your project on time, your ERP partner should be working proactively with you to ensure you understand what resources will be needed to complete every phase on the project on time.
What should your ERP partner be asking you?
1. What business challenges do you need to solve?
At the very heart of any new ERP implementation project is a business challenge that you, the client, hopes to resolve. During the early stages of your discussions, your ERP partner should take the time to understand your goals for the near and distant future, and your current business challenges.
It’s vital that your potential ERP partner questions two fundamental factors during your initial discussion.
One, what are the key problems that your business is currently facing?
Two, what do you hope to achieve in your business once these challenges have been resolved?
If your ERP partner is eager to find out the answers to these two questions, it shows that they are keen to gain an understanding of where your business currently is, and where your business wants to get to with the help of a new ERP solution.
2. What financial benefit do you expect from solving this challenge?
An important question that should appear during your conversation with a potential ERP partner, is a discussion around what financial benefits the business will gain by implementing a new ERP solution.
Financial benefits can take several different forms: cost savings, increased profits, or improved business efficiencies.
Knowing this information will help your ERP partner gain a deeper understanding of the pain points you are currently dealing with in your organisation, and suggest an appropriate software solution to address your needs.
3. What will a successful implementation look like to your organisation?
Before taking on an ERP implementation, your organisation should clearly define the desired outcomes. Then, your partner should focus on how the ERP system will help you achieve those goals.
Success for your organisation, and success for a partner might mean two very different things, so it’s vital that both parties are on the same page when it comes to understanding what success looks like for your project.
For a business, the success of your project is ultimately defined by whether your business challenges have been resolved by the introduction of your new ERP software.
For some ERP partners, a successful project may be defined when the ERP project has been delivered on time and within budget.
Whilst both factors are very important, it’s critical that your ERP partner asks you from the very start what a successful implementation will look like for your organisation. Ensuring this is communicated from the beginning will allow you to focus on your business, whilst your ERP partner can concentrate on delivering a successful ERP project.
ERP implementations from the experts
At Nolan Business Solutions, we specialise in providing tailored NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics solutions for businesses looking to grow.
We are a team of accredited NetSuite and Microsoft ERP implementation partners, with the expertise and experience required to recommend, implement and support the best software solution for your business.
If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, get in touch with our team of experts today.