ERP Evaluation Process Blog Series: What You Need to Know That No One Will Tell You – Series 4 of 4

The right ERP system is a major asset for today’s companies, especially SMBs. It replaces manual, error-prone tasks with automated processes and gives professionals greater visibility into their company’s financial performance. Real-time access to critical data lets executives make sound business decisions that drive growth.

However, these benefits can be realized only if the ERP system fits the organization’s requirements now and in the future. To help ensure the right choice is made, I’ve written a four-part series about the evaluation process:

  • Part 1 discussed identifying the need for a new system.
  • Part 2 covered budgeting and documenting the objectives.
  • Part 3 provided direction on selecting the right ERP software vendor and implementation partner.

The Truth Behind ERP Implementation

In this last post, I’ll share critical insights that a consulting partner, or VAR, tells clients who are choosing an ERP system—things that you may not learn when directly working with the publisher.

  1. ERP implementations are hard. Switching from an old system to a new one is complex, from setup to training to data integration. A trusted consulting partner will help you define an implementation approach that minimizes disruption, keeps costs down, and can be completed within a reasonable timeframe.
  2. Fixed-price implementation packages fall far short of getting you where you need to be. Publishers will tell you their packaged implementation plans (aka rapid deployment, success package, industry vertical package) gives you everything you need and does so in a shorter time period and for less money. Often none of this is true. These approaches usually exclude converting your data (any of it), training your users on your new system, and creating any modified or custom reports. These are significant elements in an implementation and I have never been involved in a project that does not have at least two of these elements.
  3. The timeline given may be unreasonable (and missing your go-live won’t be your only problem) You and your team are so busy with day-to-day tasks, that the implementation schedule might not be feasible. Missing your go-live will require some explaining to your management and board, but the bigger issue will be that loss of the publisher’s implementation team who had to move on to the next project when yours wasn’t finished in time. This is going to cost you even more time and money getting new implementation resources up to speed (and there’s no doubt they’ll be less experienced!) Again, your consulting team can help you set more realistic goals and provide the internal resources needed to do much of the heavy lifting needed to keep you on the original schedule.
  4. This project is not just about replacing your old system with a new. This project is about organization-wide improvement. Today, companies have multiple business systems that are critical to execution. CRM, product lifecycle management (PLM), pre-existing solutions that work well (expense management, procurement, etc.), and in many cases the company’s proprietary client management/provisioning system. A consulting partner will take the time to assess all relevant technologies that are in place to ensure that opportunities to integrate systems and automate data exchange are embraced and tangible value to the organization is realized.

All of these issues can cost you money and credibility. For example, one ERP vendor is encouraging customers to use a pre-configured environment, based on the assumption that they can successfully self-implement their system by reading the instructions. Clearly, this unrealistic approach leaves no room for error, is inflexible, and can lead to a wasted ERP investment.

Frank, Rimerman Consulting: A Better Way

The right consulting partner is critical to a successful ERP implementation—they can give you a realistic picture of what the process actually involves, ensure accurate communication between you and the vendor, set a reasonable schedule, and keep your implementation on track and on budget.

If you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of a new ERP system, get started today by connecting with the professionals at Frank, Rimerman Consulting.

By Stephen Wolford, Director at Frank, Rimerman Consulting, the business systems consulting practice of Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP., one of the largest locally owned accounting and business consulting firms in California. We serve a growing list of clients globally. Frank, Rimerman Consulting delivers SaaS Corporate Performance Management (Adaptive Insights), Enterprise Resource Planning solutions (Intacct, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics GP) and value-added consulting services to organizations of all sizes. With deep finance, technology, and industry expertise, we help clients gain operational and cost efficiencies.