When it comes to ERP, the right help is worth it

By John Fatkin, Lead Consultant – Supply Chain Management on

Keeping up with the latest innovation in ERP solutions is essential for business success and ensures you stay one step ahead of your competitors. Sounds simple. But actually, that’s only part of the story.

In reality, the successful implementation of an ERP solution is dependent on many factors. One of the most important of these is the choice of software and hosting. But there is much more besides that. Making the best software and deployment choice doesn’t guarantee project success. There are a lot of other facets to account for.

At a time when customers demand shorter project timelines, a turnkey, one size fits all solution is compelling. But alas, unlike many aspects of contemporary life, even ‘ready to run’ ERP solutions often require a degree of customisation.

One size fits all?

ERP systems are designed to be configurable. This has arisen because businesses have their own quirks. Whilst there can be similarities between businesses high level needs, at the day-to-day processing level, there is a wide variety of ways things get done. It takes real business experience, together with practical system knowledge, to bring about a value-adding design that is fit for purpose for each specific business.

Depth and breadth of experience about ERP products is essential when making the key decisions of the solution design:

  • Is there more than one way to use the software to meet the business need?
  • When is a system enhancement justified and when is it a waste of money?
  • What are the greatest risks to project implementation?

Answers to these questions don’t often fall in your lap. Seeking the support of an implementation partner that has business expertise and deep domain knowledge is a smart strategy.

Keeping the lights on

In today’s economy, few companies have the luxury of seconding key people from their normal duties and dedicating them to deliver an in-house ERP project. In the past, there was a notion that it could be achieved with just a few people responsible for covering the daily operation of the business. Not so now.

Some well-measured ancillary resources can enable both the ERP project to hit the ground quickly and reduce any risks to the daily operation of the business, ensuring customer service, operations and product quality all remain at a high standard.

Count the cost

External resources, whilst likely to incur a higher daily rate than in-house staff, will bring quicker payback and higher solution quality than an in-house staffed project. They will also bring the experience of past projects to bear, providing a longer term view about the flexibility and appropriateness of any ERP solution that is being considered.

It’s prudent to consider the skills and strength of your implementation partner as you embark on your next system investment. It will make a big difference on the quality, cost and acceptance of the final solution.

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