When done correctly, locating a quality ERP consultant takes time, a lot of investigation, and due diligence. Knowing who you’re retaining is important, because it is an investment and it sets the direction of your ERP project. If the right choice is made, the ERP consulting firm can help make the ERP selection and implementation a huge success. If the wrong choice is made, the ERP consultants will quickly send the IT manager straight to the local unemployment office.
Top Considerations for Choosing an ERP Consulting Firm
- ERP Firm’s Background – Know who you are buying from. Review the list of employees on their website and validate it against the company’s profile and the employees’ personal accounts in LinkedIn. Are they who they say they are? Are they involved in lawsuits? Do they sell software as well as services? These should be big red flags!
- Consulting Firm’s Experience – What is the experience of the firm with ERP selection or ERP implementation? Ask to see their last 20 projects references, including type of project, date of project completion, and the results.
- Individual Consultants’ Experience – What is the experience of the consultants in the firm? How new are they to the firm? Are they 1099’s? Ask for a list of employees and then check them out on LinkedIn. How many projects have they worked in your type of project (with that firm)? Are they performing ERP selection vs. business process improvement vs. ERP implementation? All are related, but certainly different skill-sets.
- References – What industries do they work with? And what size companies do they work with? References matter, but you need to make sure these are real as well. Confirm that the references are who they say they are on Linked In, and if there are disparaging remarks made about the other consulting firms, confront those firms with the remarks (you may be very surprised).
- Project Timeline and Scope – Who is going to work the project? Can they name the specific consulting resources? What is the timeline? Can they provide an MS project plan detailing the steps and tasks in their methodology? Does the Project Plan match their PowerPoint and the proposal? Or is it mostly fluff? If they cannot provide details, maybe they really do not do this for a living.
- Methodology – What is the purpose and/or goal of their methodology and does it fit with their company philosophy? If they use a business process improvement methodology, can you see examples of their work? Can they teach you their BPI methodology? What other education do they offer?
- Selection Criteria – Are they using a checklist during the ERP selection process? Why? Who fills out the checklist? How do they know that the answers are correct if provided from the ERP vendors? How is the short list determined? When do you get to see the ERP software? Ask for examples of going from a long list to a short list, which vendors were on the list, and why, and how did the client make their final choice?
I could go on, but I think you get the idea here. There are lot of things to consider before signing contracts with any ERP firms or consultants. Do your research, educate yourself, and chose wisely.