No matter how you approach a technology initiative, even the most incredible and perfectly devised strategy only goes so far without a partner who knows how to get you there. Following recent articles on the path to a better business management solution, we would today like to discuss the importance of finding a partner who is going to be able to lead you on this journey.
It Starts with the Right Advice: Your Cloud Dilemma
In this article, we continue, noting that solutions need to be built around business priorities, and without a “silver bullet” for ERP deployment, you need to find a solution able to handle your combination of priorities, internal skills, and resources.
Needs Assessment and Business Analysis
Early in the ERP selection process, you’re going to spend a lot of time with your team discussing the challenges that your people want to solve and how a change will affect your business. Something we looked at in our article on the pitfalls of an overzealous cloud push, you need to get a lay of the land and understand how each option will affect your people.
“Many businesses are ready for a full-on charge into the cloud. Yours might be one of them. However, yours may also be one who has a bit of work to do before you’re truly ready for the different operating environment that exists. Before riding in, it pays to get a lay of the land—are your people ready for a complete move? Do you have a plan for connecting third-party or custom applications that might not be built to integrate?”
The Role of the Partner: Help You Understand How a Solution Will Work for Your Business
Getting past the dilemma requires a clear picture of the benefits and risks of either decision. Both options can help companies gain value, but without the right advice, a company looking at either can get stranded with a solution that fails to deliver.
A true business partner has worked with companies like your own, and can understand their role in delivering either. From being able to help you understand functionality to discussing your business risk tolerances, pricing preferences, and usage expectations, the company with whom you partner is going to know if something is likely to work and will often remove themselves if they feel they can’t deliver.
Planning for Customization and Setup
As you narrow down your list of vendors and partners, you’ve started watching the demos, discussed how things are going to change, and closed in on a move. This is when hypothetical changes become real line items on a quote.
An Accurate and Honest Demo and Price
Closing in on your future vendor and partner is an important step. Remember, this is a solution that your company will use for the next decade and needs to be able to grow and change with your business. This starts with the demonstration process—something that not only gives you an understanding of how software works, but also helps you judge the character of the presenter.
Leading up to the full demonstrations, you’re going to want to send a list of the things you want to see from a presentation, allowing you to see how a solution is going to work in the day-to-day.
The Role of the Partner: Show You What You Need to See
Every demonstrator has different styles and an order in which they present, so expect that you will see new and different things for every demo. That said, you’re in control of this.
Do not get wowed by features and functions that your company does not need and you will never have the time to implement. Don’t let the presenter go off on a negative tangent about a competitor. Presenters are there to talk about their own product, not someone else’s.
A company focused on partnership is going to show you what you need to see and do so honestly. Will they discuss what you might want to consider in the future? Likely. From here, the company will give you an honest quote. ERP decisions are all about balancing price, value, and risk—and a partner’s quote will present you options for each of those.
Delivering the Solution: Getting You from Selection to Success
Once you make it to the implementation process, the details are ironed out and if you have been focusing on partnership over sales pitches, the process won’t be traumatic for staff. This is the stage in which your partner will work with your team to put the solution into action on time and on budget.
A successful project is going to start with a complete, thorough, and honestly drafted plan and timeframe. There’s no reason why a well-organized and managed implementation team, with adequate budget and a reasonable time frame, backed by strong senior management commitment, and a clear goal and direction, can’t be successful.
The Role of the Partner: Answer, Lead, and Train
When working with a third-party resource to put an ERP solution into action, a partner is there to get the job done based on your needs. Expect accountability, answers, and advice. Whether you are going all-in on the cloud or working with a hybrid solution, your partner is going to need to deliver clean databases and well-designed infrastructure.
With our unique approach to ERP, we get to know how you work and can help you determine what will make the most sense for your business. To learn more, contact us for a product demo and free consultation.