In Today’s Economy What Sets ERP Solution Providers Apart?

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by Mike Bolding, Senior Developer, InterDyn Artis
Are certifications important when selecting an ERP solutions provider?
I never have been one to get too hung up on the idea of obtaining lots of technical certifications.  I have worked with too many certified professionals in my career to really feel as though it were something that was absolutely necessary… until recently.  We are all painfully aware that the economy is not exactly what we all would like for it to be, and as part of that, some of us have had to cope with either having to find new employment or watching as a friend looks for employment. 

Looking for an ERP solution provider is like HR glancing at qualifications on resumes, do they possess the required skills. Or with an ERP solution provider, do they have the certifications needed to implement an ERP solution. After listening to several friends work through the process of trying to find employment I was reminded of my brief stint in management.  How did I make it through the stacks of resumes that I had for a single position?  Aside from throwing away the ones that have obvious mistakes, I would look for things that were objective and then drill down on the subjective.  One of those objective discriminators was certifications.  Granted, I know that having a certification does not always mean that the person is able to perform but it does help to know that a neutral third party has identified this person as being able to answer a set of topic specific questions.  Once I had my short list of candidates, I could focus on the subjective aspects (tell me about item "x" on your resume).  To say the least, this economy has helped me put renewed focus on getting my certifications up to date.

In the same way that HR might sift through resumes looking for the best candidates, we as receivers of service need to have some kind of benchmark to at least narrow the number of options. All licensed doctors have a degree, but not all are the same level and caliber. And not all IT service providers are the same. Virtually all of them have some kind of experienced staff but how can that experience be qualified. If you are looking for help with network infrastructure you might want to start with a company that has network engineers certified in Microsoft Windows (or Unix) and Cisco technologies. If you are looking to implement an ERP solution you would want to look for a provider that has staff certified in Microsoft Dynamics GP. The same goes for other areas of technology be it database development or your CRM solution.

Certification does not mean that you are guaranteed a successful experience but working with a provider that puts an emphasis on keeping its employees current on the latest products and current on their certifications is definitely a good indicator.  One thing that I have been very proud of about my current employer, InterDyn - Artis, is that we put a focus on keeping our staff current on our certifications and training.  Our consultants are certified Masters in Microsoft Dynamics GP, our technical staff are certified in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft SQL Server and numerous other technologies.  Not only does this give me confidence in my coworkers, it gives our clients and prospects a measuring stick to use against other providers. 

Next time you are looking for some kind of value added services, whether it is for your business' accounting system or for your hot water at home, ask about employee certifications and training.

By InterDyn Artis, North Carolina Microsoft Dynamics Partner.

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