We have a consultant at AX-iom ERP who often states the following to prospective clients, “Average software implemented well is much better than good software that is implemented poorly.”
At AX-iom we take pride in giving our manufacturing clients the best of both worlds – great ERP software (Microsoft Dynamics AX is quickly becoming the most sought after solution for the manufacturing industry) along with product and industry focused services that are meticulously delivered using the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Implementation Methodology.
But, how do you know if your ERP services partner whether providing Microsoft, SAP, Oracle or any other software, is the right partner for your ERP software implementation? Our consulting team put their heads together to create a list of characteristics that they would look for in an ERP partner if they were to hire out an implementation. Here is what they came up with…
An effective ERP software services partner should:
Know Your Industry
Not only should an ERP software services partner know your industry, if given the opportunity you should select one that specializes in it. Specialists in your industry should be able to speak to the opportunities, challenges and competitive environment that you are facing; and be able to support their knowledge through the experience of client ERP implementations that will be similar to your own.
For example, AX-iom ERP maintains a much focused ERP services practice. Our manufacturing industry clients make up nearly 100% of our business. This focus allows us to offer our customers unparalleled manufacturing best practices knowledge delivered by a team of manufacturing expert resources. In addition, since our hiring practices are focused on this industry, every member of our consulting team has ERP implementation experiences in manufacturing industry environments to share and collaborate with our group. This amplifies the level of expertise that is provided to our clients and their implemented solutions.
Provide Local Support
For multiple reasons having local ERP software support is a benefit to your business operations;
- your ERP services partner will be familiar with your local environment including local regulatory compliance, taxation, and the local competitive market;
- it reduces the overall cost of your implementation;
- you are able to take advantage of synergies from your ERP software partner’s other local clients;
- it increases on-site ERP consulting time that is critical for training delivery and user adoption;
- it allows you to engage technical support quickly in case of a critical issue.
Local support although not critical to ERP implementation success is advantageous throughout your project.
Understand your Business
Knowing your industry is essential, but the project efficiencies that can be attained from an ERP partner that has more in-depth knowledge of your business is invaluable. For example, choosing an ERP partner that has experience with your specific type of business, that has engaged in similar business processes or even has experience with your existing business software can help to streamline and possibly shorten your overall ERP software implementation time. These ERP partners have a large advantage over others vying for your business – especially if they have great references to support their knowledge.
Have Deep ERP Software Knowledge
Confirm your ERP software partner’s application knowledge, don’t just trust what you have seen in demo’s and read on their website. There are many ways to verify the knowledge that your partner may have in their supported ERP product.
- Validate ERP software certifications both at the company partner level and for each of the consultants that may be working on your ERP implementation.
- Consult the ERP vendor directly. Learn about the working relationship between the vendor and the partner. Get their opinion on the level of product knowledge that they have in comparison to other partners and resellers.
- Speak and visit with references that meet your specific criteria – local area, similar size and business type.
Be Comprised of a Team of Experienced Professionals
It may sound obvious, but a team of experienced professionals is essential to your ERP implementation success. We have discussed the importance of experience both in your industry and in the ERP solution, but what we have not emphasized is the importance of being backed by an organization that has a full staff of consultants to assist in your ERP projects. Be certain that staff are not freelance, and are full-time employees of the organization.
Having an ERP team at your fingertips can provide the following benefits:
- Provides the opportunity to switch Project Managers or ERP consultants if any incompatibilities exist;
- Offers a variety of skillsets to draw from throughout your ERP implementation. For example, AX-iom employs manufacturing industry specialists in the areas of Technical Infrastructure, Financial, Manufacturing Operations, Programming & Development and Project Management;
- Ensures that post-implementation support personnel are available if ever required in an urgent or critical situation;
- Justifies the credibility and longevity of the organization.
Have a Focused Business Strategy
Many ERP services partners provide implementation and support services for multiple ERP products. Although it demonstrates a wide knowledge of ERP software product, this strategy also indicates a lack of depth in any particular product. Training and staff development dollars are watered down across multiple products rather than focused on gaining comprehensive knowledge on a single product.
Finding a partner, like AX-iom that focuses on a single ERP software product provides core product knowledge that translates to a smoother, quicker implementation. AX-iom is a reseller and services provider for Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP software, its only ERP offering and sole business focus.
Has a Similar Corporate Culture
Your ERP services partner will be working at your location, working with your management team and working with your staff. Finding an organization that fits with your own corporate culture will help to form a symbiotic relationship of collaborative thinking and partnership. Don’t take culture for granted – if your team trusts, respects and is compatible with your partner, your implementation success will increase. Common ERP implementation issues such as resistance to change and user adoption can be minimized simply by finding the right partner that can connect with your staff.
Reputation is everything. Make sure that you have verified your ERP partner’s references. Naturally, every reference they provide will be a good reference, it is up to you however to get the right reference. Ask them to provide references from companies that are similar to your own, that are running the same version of ERP software that you will be implementing and are local to your business. In addition, if you have any hesitation call upon their other business partners and as mentioned earlier, the ERP product vendor can provide a wealth of information in comparison to other resellers that may be available for the selected ERP software package.
The best advice that we can give is for you to remember our consultant’s saying, “Average software implemented well is much better than good software that is implemented poorly.” Don’t forget that your choice of ERP reseller is just as important as the software that you choose. If you review our eight points above, you are on the right track to finding a partner that can make your ERP implementation a success.