If you have already decided that your company needs a world-class ERP solution like Dynamics GP, choosing the right firm to implement it is probably more important than the product selection itself. An ERP solution is as good as the consulting company that implements it.
In the case of Dynamics GP, there is a network of “Business partners”. Microsoft continuously monitors this network with the aim of establishing a baseline for the quality of the product representation and implementation. However, the level of experience and quality can vary greatly between consulting companies and, in consequence, your experience as a customer can be of great satisfaction, or utmost disappointment.
Our recommendation? Look for a consulting company that is willing to become your business partner and not just Microsoft’s. Here is a list of what to look for in such a company:
Qualifications: This is the easy part. Microsoft provides clear guidelines for required exams and certification levels necessary for a consulting partner to sell and implement products such as Dynamics GP. However, these partner programs only establish a minimum level of expertise, which is probably not enough for successful implementations. Even so, you should verify the consulting company’s certifications in the specific area required by your company, such as financials, distribution, CRM, or manufacturing, for example.
Experience: Harder to measure, and a lot more important than qualifications by themselves. A consulting company with many years in the market has probably been exposed to a greater variety of industries, business cases, and problems. This experience allows the consulting firm to bring a lot more value to the implementation process in the form of solutions and know-how that make the project a smoother one, and the solutions implemented possibly more efficient.
References: The best indication of a potentially good business partner is the quality of the references they can provide. Look for active customer references; a satisfied customer is a good indication that the consulting firm knows how to do its job. Several satisfied customers is even better, particularly if the consulting firm can provide a mix of long-time customers as well as recent implementation experiences.
Honesty and measure: Be careful with salespeople! There are “consultants” that will promise anything to get the deal. Does the consultant really understand the product components you need? The proposed solution must be adequate for the business requirements. Often it is better to implement product functionalities in phases as opposed to buying into a do-it-all-at-once approach.
Ability to perform: Is the consulting firm technologically proficient? Do the consultants have a balance of the business processes knowledge and the technologies that support them? Do they follow an implementation methodology that guarantees fluid implementations? Don’t be afraid to ask for demonstrations of this ability, essential for a successful ERP project.
The relationship between your company and your business partner is like a marriage: Choose well and you will live happily ever after.
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