Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementation is intended to standardize and increase efficiency. It’s probably no surprise that this vast change in processes can be fraught with missteps. But it may surprise you to know that hiring a consultant to manage the transition is often the difference between a successful deployment and a failed one.
“Consultants contribute significantly toward ERP deployment success, relieving your team of strain and ensuring a functional roll-out.”
Challenges to ERP Implementation
A failed ERP roll-out is costly and demoralizing. The system itself is a large investment, so deployment needs to be done well. Three common factors often lead to a fumbled deployment.
1. Lack of awareness
Many organizations lack the resources to create a thorough project plan that sets them up for success. However, they don’t always recognize the need for outside help.
2. Lack of internal champion
When there’s no single point person responsible for getting data in, for user testing, and for project management, important milestones fall through the cracks.
3. Lack of internal engagement
This one is the biggest contributor to roll-out failure I see. Your team is already busy with full-time responsibilities, and doesn’t have the bandwidth to engage in this process without help.
How a Consultant Supports ERP Success
Consultants contribute significantly toward ERP deployment success, relieving your team of strain and ensuring a functional roll-out. Consider these benefits of engaging a consultant.
1. They’re Project Management Pros
Using a consultant as a PM to coordinate milestones is a brilliant gain in efficiency. This is especially true for a pre-IPO, or when switching from one ERP to another.
Often, an ERP system will send their own PM, which can be helpful. Keep in mind, though, that a vendor’s time is limited. It’s critical to have your own internal champion to see the project through. You need a high level of support to pull the deployment off, and if you’re only using the vendor’s PM, you may experience an incremental cost pile-up. Hiring an expert consultant focused on your project lets you hit milestones and stay within budget.
2. They Preserve Your Team’s Focus (and Thwart Fatigue)
During PMP certification or AR and operational technical accounting, an ERP consultant creates a time-saving buffer for your team. The consultant allows your core team to focus on ERP implementation workstreams.
The amount of data required in an implementation is staggering. Instead of adding to your team’s existing workload, bringing on a consultant can keep your team from burning out.
3. They Increase User Acceptance
People resist change, and an ERP implementation is a hefty change. A consultant can grease those wheels, increasing user acceptance.
The stressful challenges of adopting a new system wear on people, so having a third-party perspective is useful. A consultant isn’t a permanent fixture of the team, and can deliver “bad” news in a way that a full-time employee just can’t. The consultant won’t be there forever, which makes any relational strain less burdensome.
Even after the deployment goes live, the ERP work continues. You’ll need to change, troubleshoot, and tweak various customizations as a matter of course. Lucky for you, you’ll have a consultant who can continue to provide stability.
“Hiring a consultant translates into avoiding costly redos, meeting milestones, staying within budget, increasing user acceptance, providing post-launch stability, and respecting your team’s time.”
When you bring in a consultant to assist with your ERP implementation, you’re protecting your investment and supporting your team. Hiring a consultant translates into avoiding costly redos, meeting milestones, staying within budget, increasing user acceptance, providing post-launch stability, and respecting your team’s time. Everyone wins, and you set yourself up for the best ERP roll-out possible.
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