How the Right ERP Partner Maximizes Your Technology Investment Returns
Vivi Tran Lynch
September 19th | 4 min read
Investing in an ERP: Why the Right Partner Matters
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career is how to leverage outside resources to supplement projects. This is especially true regarding technical needs, and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is no exception.
Growth sector companies rarely have the operational advocacy or expertise to guide technical teams to build solutions in a forward-looking environment. Business needs are constantly innovating and expanding, which often means managing increasing volumes of data, new channels, and increasingly complex business processes.
ERP systems are usually implemented with a “financials first” perspective; while recognizing the need for an ERP system is the first step, and software evaluation and selection is next – many organizations fall short at a critical third step: selecting an implementation partner that understands your needs beyond the GL.
Too often, business leaders overly weight a perceived “ease” factor when selecting an implementation partner – usually trusting a software partner to guide implementation decisions because logically, they know their product best – leading to short-term, not long-term ERP success. It is important that an implementation partner understand your business vertical and how it operates, which goes beyond requirements gathering and technical configuration. In short and to borrow a quote, “best practice depends on context.”
The Role of the Right ERP Partner
Software selection is a short-sighted view for success; implementation and post-launch support is really what makes, or breaks, digital transformation. ERPs are a long-term investment and can yield incredible benefits to an organization beyond financials, and a tailored implementation partner can help capture those opportunities earlier in the process.
- An excellent ERP partner brings to the table more than technical expertise; they have industry knowledge and a deep understanding of your business vertical and how it (should) operates, which goes beyond “requirements gathering.”
- The right ERP partner also provides the appropriate amount of ongoing support, helping you navigate post-launch challenges and continuously optimize the system to meet your evolving needs – both human and technical.
Key Tip: An ERP implementation partner is not just a vendor; they are a strategic ally in your digital transformation journey.
Here are 6 reasons why finding the right implementation partner is critical to ERP success
Technical and Functional Expertise:
ERP systems are complex and cover multiple facets of an organization, from accounting and finance to human resources and supply chain management. Software partners (even the biggest ones) are often focused on getting the system “up and running” and follow a “financials first” perspective. Tailored implementation partners have both the technical and functional expertise required to understand, configure, and implement the system effectively for the use of your organization today and, importantly, tomorrow.
Reduced Risk of Failure:
The risk of failure during an ERP implementation is high. A recent Gartner study suggested that 55% to 75% of all ERP projects fail to meet their objectives. Implementation advocacy partners are a support resource that bring proven methodologies, tools, and frameworks to the table tailored to your industry, organization size, and growth path – reducing the overall chances of failure. Advocacy partners can help identify risks early and take corrective actions, ensuring the project stays on course towards optimization.
Quicker Implementation and Post-Launch “Recovery” Times:
It is essential to have a specialized partner who excels in customized implementations, going beyond simply providing a framework and “best practices”. Their practical expertise and knowledge in your vertical can greatly expedite the ERP implementation process and uncover potential areas for improvement. The largest setback in ERP implementation is a result of missed or misunderstood business requirements. An excellent partner brings technical expertise representing your vertical, and understand your needs directly without translation, leading to quicker realization of the system’s benefits and less disruption to your ongoing business operations.
Effective Change Management:
Change is hard, and probably the largest threat to ERP implementation success. An expert partner can help manage the human aspects of the transition, providing training and change management strategies to ensure that employees are well-prepared to use the new system. This leads to higher adoption rates and better overall effectiveness in the long-run.
Long term support and continuous improvement:
An ideal ERP implementation partner offers initial implementation services, but ongoing support and system optimization. As your business grows and evolves, your ERP system will need to adapt. Identifying a long-term partner that understands your business, not only your software, can ensure that you have resources who can support both human and technical needs in a dynamic environment.
Capital Efficiency and Comprehensive Business Insights:
An ideal partner can help you maximize your ERP and guide you through a phased approach that best addresses your business priorities. They act as strategic advisors, diving deep into your business operations, understanding your unique challenges, and identifying the best solutions tailored to your needs. A strong implementation partner is an advocate for your business, which can also be beneficial in finding alternative solutions to solve problems when existing ERP functionality may not be as robust as needed.
Good partners will:
- Outline a solid business infrastructure for growth and scale
- Understand your current and future business needs, and can map technical functionality to “best practice” operational processes
- Recommend the ideal solutions for your operational issues, looking both internally (ERP) and externally (other applications)
Choosing an ERP implementation partner is a critical decision and can be a defining point in your digital transformation. Recognizing that software selection and implementation are two related, but separate decisions can impact your overall success and ensure your ERP system is leveraged to support growth.
In short, and to borrow a quote from Barry Hawkins, ‘best practice depends on context.’ As we explored the importance of selecting the right ERP implementation partner, it’s clear that context plays a crucial role in determining success.
Key takeaway: ERP systems and implementation partners are not one-size-fits-all. Take your time, outline objectives, allow for adequate due diligence, and remember that an excellent partner will offer expertise and tailored services to your vertical.
If you’re looking to optimize your supply chain management and navigate supply chain technology with expertise, we invite you to connect with our team of industry-leading experts at LIDD. Let us help you grow your business with the right supply chain tools. Reach out to us today and let’s start a conversation about transforming your supply chain into a strategic advantage.