Picking an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a daunting task for any business. But an equally important decision is selecting the right partner that will implement and support your chosen ERP. Your ERP partner will become part of your business, working with you, not only through the implementation, for years after that.

Five tips for choosing the right ERP partner.

#1 look for ERP partners with industry specific expertise

Consider whether you need a generalist or a specialist. Look for a partner who has depth of experience, in both a particular ERP and a particular industry, with a stellar reputation for implementing solutions on time and on budget. Also, ask about demonstrated results they’ve delivered for other customers specific to your industry. And don’t be afraid to ask for references.

#2 Know all the costs of your ERP project

ERP implementations can spiral out of control, costing thousands more than the original estimate. So don’t choose the partner with the cheapest proposal, choose a partner that has the foresight to clearly outline all the costly hurdles along the way. If you’re confident you need an ERP system, but aren’t sure if you can afford it, inquire about finance options on offer.

#3 Prepare to handle change

People usually buy software that is reasonably good for their business, but most of the failure is in the execution. A strong implementation partner will manage changes to the scope of the project as it continues to evolve. Avoid partners who claim to have bulletproof methodology. A good implementation partner will be able to navigate different personalities, processes and stakeholder relationships, in a cohesive and productive way throughout the project. Also, ask to meet the project team before signing off. These will be the people working in your business from the project kickoff through to the go-live and beyond.

#4 Seek out an ERP partner who challenges you

A partner isn’t there to simply move data from the old system to the new one, they need to think of the best ways to structure the data in the new system to ensure the maximum utility is acquired. A good ERP partner shouldn’t be afraid to tell the business what they need rather than simply just give them what they want. Your ERP implementation partner should provide best practice on your new ERP project, moving away from antiquated legacy methodologies to the new way of streamlining and automating business processes.

#5 Ask about post-implementation support

After the go-live, your ERP partner should play a key role in the future of your business. Their role is to ensure your system works as expected, and is being continually configured and optimised according to your specific business needs. So be sure to understand what their support program entails. Selecting an ERP implementation partner can be a daunting process, but it’s vital for companies with visions of drastically scaling up. At Liberate IT, we leverage our experience of over 130 Oracle NetSuite implementations across Australia and New Zealand, to help businesses expand with increased visibility and scalability.