Many enterprises choose to enlist the services of an implementation partner when implementing or upgrading their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform. This blog looks at how a successful ERP journey depends on getting that partnership right, why this is almost as much about client capabilities and preparedness as it is about the implementation partner, and the critical importance of open, objective, transparent engagement at all stages of the process, from selection to contract completion. Here at 3V Solutions, as experienced ERP implementation partners, we recognize and are committed to constructive engagement with all our customers and prospects, and we are always ready for an open, non-sales led conversation on the challenges and rewards of implementing an ERP.
Complex ERP implementations need strong client partner relationships
Implementing or upgrading an ERP platform is a complex undertaking, encompassing people, business processes and data across the organization; it’s not just about the software. It is clearly unrealistic for an organization to expect to buy an ERP platform, contract with the lowest bidding partner to implement it, and play no further part in the process until the software is switched on and the business is magically transformed. Yet we often find unrealistic customer expectations, or over-selling by partners, at the root of ERP implementation issues.
How can an organization avoid these pitfalls by selecting and building the right implementation partnership?
Fundamentally, it’s about putting in the time and effort to understand fully what is involved in the implementation, and being prepared to have the informed, adult conversations throughout the process that will deliver maximum mutual benefit from the partnership. Here are four elements that we have found to be critical in a successful implementation partnership.
Understand the scope – people, process, data and IT
This much more than understands the functional scope that the ERP implementation will cover. There needs to be a clear and detailed understanding of the change, what activities will be needed to deliver it and who is responsible for each task. The existing business process and data landscape needs to be formally defined, and the changes to be implemented need to be mapped against it. This is likely to entail data cleansing, organizational and process changes, all of which need to be costed, resourced and managed.
People impacts need to be assessed, planned for and roles and responsibilities agreed, from dealing with resistance to change, to training, resourcing data loads and end-user testing. The implementation partner should be able to work through all this with the client in due diligence, to get to a realistic, detailed understanding of the scale and cost of the change. Without this comprehensive and detailed shared understanding, there is a risk of assumptions being made around the scope of the contract that can lead to unwelcome and costly change orders later, and the lowest bidding proposal turning out not to be such a good deal after all.
Getting beyond the sales pitch
Implementing an ERP is a journey unique to that organization, not a generic transaction like buying paperclips. Engaging a partner to support the organization through the journey is about establishing the mutual trust and shared understanding required to tackle the challenges the journey will inevitably encounter. Contracting with an ERP implementation partner has to start with an adult conversation about scope, functional and cultural fit, not a sales pitch.
Trusting the implementation partner’s expertise
Whilst every organization’s ERP journey is unique, it is also true that an effective implementation partner has the experience and expertise to spot when that journey is heading in the wrong direction. Their expertise needs to be trusted.
For example, ERP solutions generally reflect best practice in the business processes they cover. If a client organization seeks to bend its ERP solution out of shape to fit its own processes, on the premise ‘that’s how we do things here’, an experienced implementation partner will correctly do everything it can to resist, and their knowledge needs to be heeded.
In mapping an ERP solution onto the unique and complicated people, process, data and IT landscape of an organization, it is likely that some things will be missed and mistakes will be made. There needs to be clear accountability for each task and deliverable involved, but the primary focus when things go off track must be to find the root cause and the most effective solution, not to allocate blame. Maintaining a constructive, collaborative approach can be challenging when the financial stakes for success are high, as they invariably are in an ERP implementation, but it is critical to do so to minimize delays and overruns.
How 3V Solutions can help ?
3V Solutions is a trusted SAP Partner backed by solid leadership with experience in implementing and managing 20+ SAP Solutions from mid-sized to Fortune 1000 companies across the globe since 1997. Leveraging SAP best practices and industry experience, we understand our client’s unique business needs, enabling us to deliver the right solutions to embark on their digital enterprise journey. If you are considering an ERP journey, we can engage with you to understand your needs and bring our extensive expertise and experience to make that journey successful.
What next ?
To continue the conversation, visit us online https://3vsolutions.com/ or contact us at +1-844-380-4262. We will be happy to discuss your ERP journey with no heavy sales pitch involved.