Once upon a time, there was a business with an ERP and a partner. Much like Goldilocks had to find just the right fit, so did this business, but let’s read on to see if they avoided having to do everything 3 times!
The benefits of choosing the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) partner to guide you through the selection, implementation, and post-go-live activities are irrefutable. A good ERP implementation partner provides a competitive edge by improving business productivity, offering helpful advice on judicious software customization so that the system fits unique business requirements, advising and training on new or updated features, and ensuring the solution keeps up with your market & the evolving tech world. Except, what happens if you pick a bad implementation partner to work with? It’s a little worse than just having your oatmeal too cold.
Bad News Bears
When you’re looking for a new ERP system, there are two major decisions to be made:
- What system should we invest in?
- What partner should we hire?
A reputable partner who has the industry experience and expertise can make all the difference to your business now and in the future. One of our clients learned this the hard way and this is where the story begins.
This company had a partner and a product for a few years, but they weren’t having much fun with either of them. They had implemented a new system together but much like Goldilocks, it just wasn’t quite right. They weren’t getting the capabilities or benefits they expected or had been sold by the vendor.
The business requested demos of additional modules multiple times, which weren’t being provided as requested. They didn’t get answers about how to use certain features, and they weren’t getting basic training questions answered either. On average, ERP implementations led to business process improvement for 95% of businesses. However, this wasn’t the case with this company. The solution wasn’t having the impact as intended and was actually causing them more work than theoretical time savings. They weren’t getting much out of the system or the partnership. Two major fails. This would be like if Goldilocks had cold oatmeal in a lumpy bed and was stuck there.
The Turning Point
After agonizing over what was essentially a poor partnership and basically non-existent support, they decided to explore other options. A member of this company’s team had previously worked with BT Partners, so along with calling a few other vendors, they decided to give us a shout too. We understood their dilemma because we had witnessed it several times before, so we went over the same day and met with the team.
Although 53% of customers are satisfied with their ERP system, there are still quite a few that are unhappy. Generally, when things go bad, people blame the solution if it doesn’t do as intended or as expected, but this is a misconception. “9 times out of 10, it’s not the product’s fault that things don’t go as planned,” admits David Thikoll, VP of Business Development and Sage Intacct Practice Director at BT Partners. “It’s easy to blame the software, but most of the time, it has to do with the business’s relationship with the vendor, and the partner’s lack of ongoing support or expertise,” continues Thikoll.
Put on Your Detective Hat
So, how can you avoid this type of scenario from happening to you? Well, for starters, you can simply check in with the partner’s current customers. How do their current customers view the relationship? Go straight to the horse’s mouth and get their perspective. They likely are happy to provide you with their opinion, whether it’s good news or bad news. For example, ask:
- Do they call the vendor when they’re thinking of making business changes?
- How does the vendor respond to their questions and inquiries?
- Does the vendor ignore or put in the effort to meet their business needs?
The standards of response time, product knowledge, etc. are all basics. To get the best outcome, and the best partnership fit, you must dig a little deeper and go beyond the basics. Do their customers get a “value-added” call back? This way you will have a better chance of uncovering potential red flags or concerns BEFORE committing to anything and anyone. It would have been much simpler for Goldilocks if she’d had someone to ask about things instead of having to find out the hard way each time.
You can identify the red flags (that unfortunately a lot tend to ignore) by carefully watching their actions and listening to their words. You want thoughtful advice based on really knowing each other, not just bullet points on a few features or a fancy colorful PowerPoint presentation. If the information you’re getting is the same information that’s on the publisher’s website, then that’s a red flag and you should see a problem. You need to do due diligence. It’s your job to see through some of that nonsense, but a good implementation partner makes it easy.
This client’s story has a positive outcome. After the client spoke with our experts at BT Partners, together and collaboratively we came to a new Sage Intacct solution that helped fix their current issues. By the end, the client commented that “Accounting is fun again!”. Our client finally felt like they were able to use the solution as they expected to from the beginning. They finally graduated from QuickBooks!
Choosing the right ERP implementation partner is just as important as choosing the right software for your business. Both decisions need to be made with some strategic thought. Learn from others’ past mistakes and partner with BT Partners so we can work with you and your unique business challenges and requirements to set up a scalable solution for future success.