5 Selection Criteria for Choosing Your ERP Implementation Partner

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One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to implementing a new Cloud ERP system like NetSuite is: How do I know which implementation partner is right for my business?

In our latest segment of The Cloud GURU, with CEO and author Martin McNicoll (posted above), we look at the 5 selection criteria that you need to take into account when selecting the right implementation partner for your ERP project.

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What are the 5 Most Important ERP Implementation Partner Selection Criteria?

Taking on a new ERP project is like getting a heart and lung transplant, while running a marathon - it’s an incredibly complex process that is meant to ensure you not only survive, but thrive from it. Finding the right partner is the equivalent of choosing the surgeon you trust to do the operation. 

In this case, your body is your business and the organs are your ecosystem of processes; employees, systems, data, and so on.

Right off the bat, I want to tell you a little secret - ERP implementations have a 50% rate of failure. I don’t want to scare you, but I want you to recognize how crucial these 5 criteria are, because I want to save you from a very, very expensive failure.

My company, GURUS Solutions, has been implementing Oracle NetSuite, an ERP System, since 2005 - that’s 15 years now! We’ve seen enormous success by applying ourselves to meet and surpass these 5 criteria, and they never fail to make our clients successful.

So, let's start!

Number 1 - Focus 

Look into their products and services, are their offerings specific to the ERP you want to install? Many implementation partner companies will offer a wide portfolio of products without having developed a strong focus in one. 
A partner dedicated to one ERP will have built unique intellectual property around its capabilities. 

Ever heard the expression jack of all trades, master of none? Make sure your heart surgeon isn’t fitting you in between plastic surgery patients. 

Trust me, this makes or breaks a large number of ERP software implementation projects.

Number 2 - Experience

Find out how long your potential partner has been implementing the ERP you select. A common red flag when choosing your partner is a low price tag, huge scope and a short timeline. These are often traits of a newer or smaller ERP vendor that wants to be competitive in order to build their portfolio. 

But you don’t want to be the training round for a small team with little experience - because at the end of the day, I promise you it won’t be “cheap”. The longer a partner has been in business, the more likely they are to have run into all of the common issues, learned the ins and outs of implementations and successfully constructed a streamlined approach to make what is a complicated operation feel as seamless as possible.

For example, at GURUS, we have a flexible approach for each implementation scenario. It’s called SHERPA. You can take a look at it here.

Number 3 - Reputation

Do they have testimonials online? Can you find reviews for them that speak to their track record? Most experienced implementation partners for a large scale ERP solution will have these - but you can also rely on word of mouth of trusted advisors. Google them and do your homework.

If they list success stories specific to clients on their website, don’t be shy to look into it. If you know someone at a business they did a project for, call them. 

If you can’t find a trace online or you hear negative things, these are all red flags.

Number 4 - Culture

This is the most crucial element of your partner relationship. How do they work with their clients? What’s their methodology? 

Communication is key to a successful project and you can tell how they’ll approach your implementation by how they respond to your questions during the assessment phase.

As an example, at GURUS, we give our clients the estimated total effort of the project from the start. Not just our effort, but theirs too. From there, we can guide them on the way to move forward. Sometimes they split the work 50/50, or ask us to take on the project entirely. It is also common for startups to even take on the project internally and our team simply oversees it to ensure they don’t run into any unforeseen hiccups. 

There is never one way to execute such a complex business surgery, and a good partner will accommodate your needs and assess the best possible path with you before discussing price and timeline.

Number 5 - Support

Find out what their post-implementation process is. Once your project is completed, you will still need ERP support. If they don’t bring this up or they avoid the question, they might not have the bandwidth or the willingness to help you long past project completion. Many ERP implementations tend to fail because of post-implementation hiccups, lack of training, and miscommunication.

At the end of the day, any large scale ERP solution will offer a vast ecosystem of vendors and partners of all prices, skill sets and unique offerings. The goal is to choose consultants that will be flexible to your business requirements and ask the right questions during the implementation project. 

By go-live, you want to ensure that you won’t have to sacrifice or damage any crucial business processes that might be integral to your day to day, while also undertaking a sweeping technological change in your company that will allow for long term growth and expansion. When it comes to NetSuite, you want the best NetSuite implementation partner to help take on your project - you can get a more in-depth guide on that here. 

Are you interested in learning more about NetSuite ERP?

Watch our Complete NetSuite ERP Walkthrough.

Build & Price your NetSuite package using our online pricer.

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