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What to Consider When Choosing an Independent ERP Consultant

Not all independent ERP consultants provide the same quality of service and not all independent ERP consultants are truly independent and impartial. If you are evaluating ERP consultants to advise you on ERP selection, it’s critical that they have sufficient expertise and that they be truly independent and impartial. 

This brief article offers tips to assess the quality and independence of ERP consultants you might be evaluating so that you can make an informed decision on a critical business partnership.

Why Your Business Needs an Independent ERP Consultant

Unlike regulated professions such as law and medicine, the consulting industry is largely unregulated, meaning that there are no professional standards that require members to act in their clients’ best interests.

Your business needs an independent ERP consultant when it’s looking for advice on how to best structure its business with systems. If your consultant has a financial or other interest in a particular solution, it has an incentive to steer you towards that particular solution instead of one that might be better suited to meet your business’ critical architectural and business requirements. And, if you select the wrong system or make the wrong architectural decision, you expose your company to the all-too-real ERP implementation failure risks.

You need assurance that your ERP consultant is giving you unbiased advice on the best suited ERP software solutions and systems integrators to meet your business’ critical fit requirements that span functionality, technology, user experience, cost, and other key requirements (learn about the 8 Dimensions of Fit here). 

4 Ways to Assess whether Your ERP Consultant Truly Independent

Unlike regulated professions where members can be penalized for failing to act in their clients’ best interests, consultants can advise on matters even when their interests are conflicted. Here are 4 ways to assess whether your consultant is truly independent:

    1. The ERP consulting firm has qualifications or credentials validating their neutrality. There are certain programs that can provide independent verification of an ERP consulting firm’s neutrality and independence. For example, Pemeco Consulting is a Qualified Service Provider under the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters’ Technology Assessment Program. 
    2. The ERP consulting firm sells and/or implements certain ERP software. This is the clearest sign that your consultant might have a conflict of interest. You should probably avoid these firms when seeking independent advice on which systems to acquire.
    3. The ERP consulting firm runs webinars and other lead generation activities with a common group of ERP software vendors. There are independent ERP consulting firms that promote webinars and other joint marketing activities with a small group of ERP software vendors. Companies needing ERP services and software are very valuable leads to both independent ERP consulting firms (like ours) as well as to ERP software vendors. Be careful when considering firms that seem to run promotional campaigns with a select group of ERP vendors.
    4. The ERP consulting firm has a history of recommending and implementing the same solution. Ask the ERP consulting firm for a history of the solutions they have recommended and implemented over the past few years. If a certain ERP system recurs more than others, you can infer a certain preference that could impact that ERP consultant’s impartiality. It is best to consider a firm with a history of helping clients select and implement a broad range of solutions. Pemeco Consulting has helped clients select and implement more than 140 different solutions.

3 Ways to Evaluate Your ERP Consultant’s Experience and Expertise

Your ERP consultant’s relevant experience and expertise are critical. You will rely on your consultant to make recommendations about business processes, data structures, technology architecture, systems, and implementation project management. Here are three tips to evaluate whether they have sufficient experience and expertise:

  1. The ERP consulting firm has expertise in your industry. In many cases, best-practices and requirements can be industry-specific (for example, GMP in food and beverage companies). You will want to validate the firm’s depth of industry-specific capabilities. 
  2. The ERP consulting firm has expertise with applicable ERP systems. Your ERP consultant should have a depth of expertise with ERP systems, preferably in relevant industries. Further, you should prioritize hands-on implementation expertise with multiple systems because the devil is always in the details.
  3. The proposed ERP consultants themselves should have relevant expertise. Remember, people provide services, not firm names on doors. Make sure to evaluate the expertise and fit of the ERP consultants who would be working on your project. Pemeco’s consultants have decades of experience successfully implementing complex ERP projects. 
  4. The ERP consultant has relevant referenceable clients. It’s important to interview recent clients about their experience with the ERP consulting firm. When asking the consulting firm to provide references, ask for clients in a similar industry with a similar scope of services. 

Learn Whether Pemeco is the Right Independent ERP Consulting Firm for Your Project

At Pemeco, we have helped cross-industry clients evaluate, implement, and optimize more than 140 different systems (many of them ERP). We recognize that we are better suited to serve certain types of organizations than others. 

Contact us today for an initial consultation to learn whether we are the right independent ERP consultant for your project.

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