It’s possible that your organization has the internal staff to successfully implement your new accounting system. It’s more likely, however, that you don’t have the resources or expertise to devote to analyzing, purchasing, installing, and maintaining a system. An outside ERP consultant can help considerably. They have been through the purchasing and implementation process many times. For a reasonable fee, an ERP consultant can save you significant time and money by helping you evaluate, select, and get the most out of your new system. Here are 7 Tips for You and Your Company when Hiring an Outside ERP Consultant:
Tip #1: Conduct an Interview.
Arrange a meeting with the consultant and your company's decision making team. The focus of the interview should be how long the process will take, what applications the vendor can provide, and how he or she can help you benefit from them—not on details of specific software or systems.
Tip #2: Ask for References.
Has the ERP consultant installed accounting software at companies similar to yours? Ask about company size, number of employees, and nature of the business. Ask for contact names and phone numbers, then call to learn as much as possible about the customers’ working relationship with the reseller.
Tip #3: Listening Skills are as Important as Product Skills.
If the consultant doesn’t listen effectively, chances are you won’t be satisfied with the final outcome. During your first interaction,
notice if the consultant seems more interested in “pushing” a particular product instead of analyzing your needs. Avoid people who try to impress you with jargon and who immediately start talking about features of equipment and programs.
Tip #4: Find a Reseller with Whom You Can Work.
The consultant will be a virtual member of your company for weeks. You may even end up with a long-term relationship if the consultant helps change and extend your system as your company grows. Choose an ERP consultant who comfortably fits your company’s philosophy and culture.
Tip #5: Avoid RFPs.
Contrary to what your colleagues may tell you, creating and sending out an RFP is not the most effective or efficient way to find the best software system. The process of creating an RFP, sending it out, waiting for proposals, and reviewing them requires substantial internal time and therefore, expense. You can achieve the same results in days by simply making a list of the ten to fifteen features you must have, calling potential vendors on the phone, and asking if their system can provide them. You can narrow your list down to the three finalists you plan to interview just by spending a few hours on the phone.
Tip #6: Don’t Sit for Product Demos Too Early.
Salespeople sometimes urge you to sit through a product demonstration before you’re ready; it’s easy to get caught up in bells and whistles and forget about your objectives and the must-have list. Don’t watch a demo unless you’re armed with your list of requirements and can control the process. Help your team understand the need for clear objectives and priorities before they spend their time looking at demos. Also, it’s your demo—have the consultant present their features in the order of your choosing, not theirs. This gives you the ability to ensure that the features you need are consistently presented by each vendor you review.
Tip #7: Require Cost Forecast Revisions.
Obviously, you’ll need to forecast the cost of implementation as accurately as possible. Avoid surprises—get a detailed breakdown
of costs and fees before and during the requirements phase. As objectives change, make sure you request revised cost estimates.
These 7 Tips should be a great starting point to Hiring an Outside ERP Consultant. However if you don't need to hire an Outside ERP Consultant, and know what you are looking for in ERP Software contact Technology Management Concepts at 310-559-3982 to start the ERP selection process. Good luck!