Want to know what the elephant in the room is when choosing an ERP selection consultant? Objectivity.
There are many business decisions that force us into using information, facts, and instincts, but when it comes to a purchase like ERP software, you want to rely more heavily upon information and facts. Often times, we are too close to the heart of the situation to step back and take a look at the whole picture. When objectivity is overridden the process loses its effectiveness.
Companies often come to ERP selection consultants in order to avoid a costly mistake, and to maintain objectivity. So, how do you make sure your first mistake isn't the ERP selection consultant that you have selected?
1. Interview 3-4 ERP selection consultants - Just like you would interview a new hire, an ERP selection consultant needs to be interviewed. Come prepared with questions regarding their selection process, the types of companies they have worked with, and the size of the companies that they have assisted. These seem like simple questions but they will give you some insight into how well they understand your needs.
2. Check their scorecard - Ask the consultant for the number of ERP selections they have consulted on in the last 3 years and what ERP software packages their clients have ultimately selected. This will give you an idea of the ERP software that they have experience with and see if there are packages that they favor. Ultimately, you want to make sure that they are truly objective and they have a history of recommending software that truly fits the needs of their clients.
3. Are they in the implementation business? - In doing your due diligence find out if the consultant also has an implementation division, and if so, what software do they specialize in implementing? Often, when a consultant also ventures over into the implementation business, their objectivity can become compromised. It is a natural progression for the consultant because of the familiarity that they have with the product they implement. However, it could lead you into purchasing a software that doesn't truly meet your needs, but was the one that the consulting firm had the most knowledge.
4. Get references - Check the consultant's references. Just like you would check the references of a prospective employee, make sure their references are positive. This is also another opportunity to check their objectivity. Did all of their references purchase the same ERP software or do they represent of variety of ERP Software packages?
5. Don't choose convenience only. So often, consultants are viewed as an existing trusted partner because they have an auditing entity and already handle your books. The typical evolution is: Auditing Firm > then ERP Selection business > then finally - an Implementation Practice. This doesn't always qualify them to be an effective selection consultant. Do some homework!
At the end of the project, you want the result to be the best possible solution for your business. If you are using an ERP Consultant, don't make the costly mistake of choosing a consultant that lacks objectivity and understanding of your business.