Advisory Services

November 07, 2022

Why Comparing ERP Partners May Not Be a Good Idea

ERP VAR

You’ve heard it many times, get three bids for anything before you buy. When you’re shopping for a plumber, that’s sound advice. However, when you’re shopping for an ERP implementation partner, it may not be so important. In fact, it may cost you more money and even jeopardize the success of your ERP project. Here are three reasons why comparing ERP VAR partners may not be such a good idea.

1. It’s hard to track the promises

When you’re talking about highly configurable, customizable applications like Sage Intacct it can be downright risky to speak to multiple ERP partners. Why? Because it’s difficult to track who made what promise.

For example, different partners may specialize in different industries, and some may even offer “integration packages” that they claim include unique industry functionality. In actuality, it’s out-of-the-box Sage Intacct functionality, but they include the configuration in their bid. Comparing that to another partner is a challenge since that second partner’s implementation fees also may include such configurations but they aren’t detailed out as a package.

One partner’s answers to your “can it do this?” and “should we do that?” questions may be totally different than another partner’s responses. If you get conflicting answers, who do you believe? Should you consider the right answer a promise? How will you track that promise?

2. Do you really want a discount implementor?

Some things can be purchased on price alone, like socks (although those cashmere ones are sooo comfy). Other things should not be purchased on price alone. You wouldn’t pick a discount dentist, would you? Or a lawyer whose fees are on sale for the week? Humbly, we’d place ERP implementation partners in the camp with dentists and lawyers. You get what you pay for. It brings to mind that saying, pick two: fast, cheap, or good — because you can’t have all three.

An ERP partner who discounts their services is either a) foolish or b) planning to make it up shortly. Since foolish ERP VARs don’t last long, most discounters plan to make up that revenue by taking shortcuts during the implementation. Wouldn’t you rather simply pay a fair price for a fair service that delivers your expectations?

3. Shopping increases the risk

We understand that it can sound counterintuitive not to shop around, until you consider the risks.

VARs who know you’re shopping them are often motivated to discount the price or conveniently leave out services you discussed during negotiations. Or it could happen that the ERP VAR you selected acted in good confidence, but you conflated their promises with those of a competing ERP VAR. In our experience, this mismatch of expectations is the common denominator in most failed ERP projects. Zeroing in on one professional ERP partner mitigates this risk.

Zero in on number one

Let us be clear. We’re not advising that you just hire the first ERP VAR you meet and proceed. Instead, we encourage you to do your homework before you decide which ERP implementation firm you want to work with. Different companies have different strengths, different personnel (obviously), and varying approaches to achieving success for their customers.  Keep in mind you are paying for the combination of the right software and business partners.

To that end, always ask for references and speak to them. Talk to the ERP VAR about their implementation approach and how you can be sure you’ll get what you thought you were buying. Ask them If they put it all in writing. Ask how they transition from the sales process to the implementation and customer support processes to ensure nothing gets lost in translation. You might even ask them — get this — to compare themselves to the competition. Have questions about BT Partners’ proven implementation approach? Reach us at info@btpartners.com or (847) 205-5015.

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