As a consulting company specializing in ERP upgrade projects, we get asked this question a lot: How do we use you guys without breaking the bank and getting what we need? And much like the waitress when you ask what’s good to eat our response is there’s a lot of choices around that. Every company is different just like everyone has different tastes. Like most restaurants there’s always some elements that will typically work for everyone and we’ll cover those first.
- Project Management – This is the most overlooked yet one of the most critical pieces of any ERP upgrade or other project. External project management and trust in that is imperative to success. Remember, this is what our project managers do for a living. They’ve seen just about every situation over the years in infinite dynamics and project team cultures to know what needs to be done to get the job done efficiently and effective. This isn’t to say that you should go in with blind faith. There are bad apples out there and as the company that is shouldering the risk you should make sure you have a good fit with your PM. Interview them, get to know them a bit before you trust your most critical business system to their hands. But once you vet them, trust them. If you have questions throughout the ERP upgrade process, a good PM should be more than happy to justify the process to you in a way that you can understand. Trust doesn’t mean ignore. Always be asking, always be learning and always be watching.
Use project management to guide you through your ERP upgrade. And make sure you have a strong PM on the inside to push your organization through the steps that are needed. Someone with leverage in the business or who you will give leverage to for the duration of the project.
- Consulting – Yes they’re expensive, yes they’re worth it. How much consulting you need depends on your business and your project team that you have put in place. Some projects need very little while some need the lions share of the work done externally. Know yourselves and be honest with yourselves going into this and establishing your budget. If you want to get your ERP upgrade done for $25,000 then understand you will have a great deal of work on your team’s plate to accomplish that and your consulting team will be more of an advisory role vs hands on. That’s all the time and budget will allow for. That’s not saying you can’t do it for that price or less, it’s just understanding where the work will be shouldered.
If you have a lot of business processes that you feel are inefficient or are going to be changed with your ERP upgrade, then consulting will be an invaluable asset. Consultants are puzzle solvers first and foremost. They see your business problem as a big jigsaw puzzle and will stop at no end to solve it. Consultants get a great deal of satisfaction in seeing all of the pieces come together and the business users happy with the results. If you know that driver, it can help you get the most out of your ERP upgrade consulting team.
- SWOT – Business School 101 right here. Take the time to identify your own Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats around your ERP upgrade. Primarily where are your strengths and weaknesses. The simple rule here is that if you have a strength and that strength can be given the time required to play a role on the project then leverage that. Where you identify weaknesses then outsource that role or at least augment that with your ERP consulting partner.
This varies with every business out there. No two businesses are the same with their needs and this is what makes our business so exciting. That diversity creates a dynamic work environment like no others. And with that it creates a high power team of ERP upgrade consultants that can work and adapt to nearly any need that comes our way. This is why we have specialists in each functional area around Operations, Financials and the Technology. If you need help breaking this all down our Enterprise Architects can help you get your arms around it pretty quickly as well. If you’re coming from a product that’s a few years old or if you have a lot of customizations or you just feel you’re working for your ERP system vs your ERP system working for you then we highly recommend starting with a BPR. This is a great opportunity to engage with our VP of Enterprise Architecture to see your business first hand and establish a comprehensive plan for your ERP upgrade including some identification of SWOT from that external view point. Check out more information HERE
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