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Your ERP Implementation: Is an ERP Vendor or Third Party Consultant Better?

You and your project team have been working hard to select a new ERP system for your business and are finally ready to sign the contracts and get your project off the ground. The question arises about whether it would better for your company to work with an implementation consultant that is employed by the software vendor or a third party reseller or consultant.

The perception for some is that the vendor’s consultants must be better trained and able to keep an ERP project on track because they receive a higher level of training than third party consultants. This is not necessarily true as many factors determine the proficiency of a ERP consultant. Keep in mind that consultants come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience levels, and all consultants need to go through the required training and certification process before receiving vendor approval to represent their products.

MIS for example, is an Epicor ERP Gold Partner, and for MIS consultants to be authorized to implement Epicor ERP each individual consultant must be trained by Epicor Software Corporation, attending the same vigorous training certification courses that Epicor Software Corporation provides for their internal consultants. To be certified, an Epicor ERP consultant must take the class for the modules they are seeking certification for and pass a certification test, regardless of their employer.

With the robustness of today’s ERP solutions, ERP consultants tend to understand the overall ERP system while becoming somewhat of a specialist in one or more areas or industries. For example, one consultant may specialize in re-engineering business processes, another in complex financials and yet another in the manufacturing industry or a certain type of manufacturer. Most have multiple certifications, thus providing greater value to their clients.

Get to Know the Consultants that will be Assigned to Your Project

Before you sign off on a Statement of Work (SOW), get to know the consultant that will be assigned to your project. With training requirements being equal, you may find that one consultant has more experience with what you are trying to achieve as compared to another. The consultant’s hourly rate, background, years of experience and industry expertise should all be considered. Ask what they do to keep a project on schedule. Also, don’t underestimate personalities as your team will be working very closely with your implementation consultants and they need to be able to work together for long hours each week.

Inquire About Your Training Options

With the internet, there are many options available for ERP training including virtual courses, video snippets addressing specific tasks to classroom and on-site training. Vendors are large organizations and should have an education department to address the training needs of their users. The training options that third party resellers offer varies.

If you decide to work with MIS for example, the MIS consultants that were responsible for the success of your implementation will also provide customized training to your team. Our philosophy is that the implementation consultants assigned to you are the ones that have the greatest understanding of your business, including the strengths and weaknesses of your staff.

An advantage of working with MIS is that in addition to offering customized training, MIS consultants train your staff using your company data (instead of demonstration data). Teaching employees how to use new software using data that is already familiar to them increases retention rates and your Return on Investment is realized sooner. The goal at MIS is for our clients to achieve an Exceptional ERP experience with a faster ROI.

Inquire About Your Support Options

Support after the implementation is equally as important as the implementation and training experience as it is often here where frustrations can develop. Ask the types of questions that will help you gain a level of comfort about which of the available options will best meet your needs. Questions you might ask include:

  • Who will be answering questions as they arise?
  • Will your company have a support contract with the vendor or implementation partner?
  • Does your implementation partner provide a technical support option?
  • What is support’s availability?
  • How fast is the response time?

Final Thoughts

Back to the original question. Is an ERP vendor or third party consultant better? The answer is that it depends on your business and it’s needs. Do your homework and decide for yourself because the best consultant for your former colleague’s company may or may not be the best consultant for your company. Good luck! If you have questions about this or other related topics, please Contact MIS .

Karen Beaulieu

Karen Beaulieu has worked in the ERP software industry for over 15 years. Having worked in a variety of roles from product development, channel and direct sales to marketing, Karen has a unique understanding and perspective of the ERP software industry. Currently Karen works in a marketing capacity for MIS Consulting & Sales and MIS Solutions Canada, ULC.

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