Selecting the next best system
8 Mar 21
8 Mar 21
Most organizations spend a lot of time on the process of selecting and evaluating ERP system. However, fewer people spend enough time choosing the right implementation partner. Although choosing the best partner is actually more important than choosing the most optimal ERP system.
Our survey of performed ERP implementation projects (with +10 years of history in the database) clearly shows that both success and failure of implementations can be addressed the availability or lack of experienced and competent individuals. And this includes both the customer’s and the vendor’s resources.
Neither the reference list nor the project methodology is a guarantee that the vendor can carry out a high-quality implementation. Instead, we see many examples where the project methodology actually hindered a smooth project process. A well-developed project model in the hands of a project manager or consultant who lacks the right personality or skills is meaningless.
Many of the projects that have ended up in insoluble problems have been carried out according to the vendor’s ‘established’ project model and by consultants who have carried out many similar projects before. When reviewing projects, it can surprisingly often be stated that projects that have suffered from major problems have often shown clear shortcomings from already from day one.
The statistics also show that it does not matter if the supplier has +50 consultants or +200 consultants. However, there is usually a limited group of 10-20 specific consultants at the vendor who have the qualifications and abilities required to ensure a successful implementation at the customer. From this perspective, there is no clear advantage of choosing a large partner compared to a small partner. It is still a matter of ensuring the right individuals for the individual project. And this includes both project managers to run and coordinate the project as well as the consultants who carry out the implementation in practice.
When you talk about success and failure, it is rarely about the individual system. Instead, the statistics show that projects where the customer deliberately opted out of the “best” system (in terms of the requirements specification) in favor of the next best system but with a very good partner, generally lead to more successful implementations. It is thus not the “last function” that determines the success, but it is instead about “HOW” the project has been planned and carried out.
A challenge for the customer is that selection of ERP systems is actually about 2 selections (in most cases), ie choice of both system and partner. And making these selections at the same time is not easy. It rather often occurs that the partner who was first chosen for the selection fails during the evaluation, and where the customer is forced to find a new partner at a late stage in order to complete the selection process. Or where the customer is forced to disconnect a system from the selection due to the lack of a sufficiently good partner, even though the system has the enough capabilities.
Choosing a partner for implementation has always been an important part of the selection, but it will become increasingly important in the future. In a changing and complex world, competent consultants with a updated knowledge and well-developed ability are required to be able to understand and guide the customer forward. And these are qualifications that are not as common as one would like when it comes to implementation partners.
The motto for the customer who is about to select and change ERP system is “Rather choose the second best ERP system with the right partner instead of the best ERP system with the second best partner”.