It’s no secret that too many ERPs fail to live up to expectations – or simply fail altogether. One reason is the mammoth array of skills and competencies an ERP implementation requires to succeed.
Driving business transformation through ERP necessitates having a vision for how the business will evolve in the future. To make that vision a reality, you need an all-star project team that can excel across the required skill set: technical know-how, project management, business process reengineering and organizational change management.
Most companies don’t have the resources to develop all of these capabilities internally. That’s why smart organizations turn to ERP consulting partners to augment their internal resources and abilities. Still, much of the expertise required for a successful ERP implementation can be just as difficult to find in ERP consulting firms.
Here are a few tips to help determine when and where it may be most appropriate to outsource your ERP implementation, and how to evaluate the best partners to help you lead your organization to ERP success:
Know yourself – take an honest look at your internal resources: Do a rigorous assessment of the caliber of skill and ability of your in-house team, compared against the skills required for a successful ERP implementation. Realistically evaluate areas of weakness – these skills and tasks are the ones you’ll want to consider outsourcing to ERP consultants. Define roles and responsibilities early in the planning process, prior to beginning your ERP implementation and deployment.
Value business smarts as much as technical competency: Functional and technical software skills are critical – but not the end-all, be-all all to a successful ERP implementation. ERP success relies less on how well the technical aspects are handled during the implementation, and more on how the business components of an implementation are executed.
See the big picture – people and processes matter: Functional expertise, technical proficiency, and software-specific skills are important. But configuring software is relatively straightforward. The people and process aspects of an implementation – such as communications, organizational change management, project management and business process reengineering – are much harder to pin down. These skill sets are also harder to find – many ERP consulting firms simply can’t offer competencies in these areas. When looking for outside help, it is critical to find a partner that not only has a comprehensive technical skill set, but also a proven methodology to help address all the other critical aspects of a successful ERP implementation.
You don’t need to outsource everything – be discriminating: Rely on outside assistance when and where it makes sense. Even the most talented external consultants can’t make decisions for you about how to run your business. It’s your project – you need to provide the appropriate level of internal expertise and support. You need to identify the skills and responsibilities your internal team can provide, and recognize those that ought to be outsourced to outside parties. Only people within your organization can judge whether the ERP system as designed does exactly what you want it to do.
Make no mistake: Assembling the collective aptitude and proficiency needed to bring an ERP implementation home successfully is a huge challenge. Start by being honest about what you can and can’t do, and what you know and don’t know. Understand that people and processes are as important as technical prowess, and choose which tasks to keep in-house and which to outsource. You’ll set the stage to leverage your internal team effectively, partner with the right ERP consultants, and lead your organization to a successful ERP implementation.