Many organizations look at ERP software primarily as an IT topic. But IT is only a means, not a goal. ERP is all about improving your organization to help you realize your ambitions. And so, your ERP supplier must be a business partner who thinks along with you on a strategic level. But is your ERP supplier up for this challenge?
Industry specialists vs. customers in every industry
To be a full-fledged strategic sparring partner, your ERP supplier must know your type of company inside out. And have experience with helping similar organizations. You do not want to have to explain to the ERP supplier how you work and how your processes are organized. No, you want to hear what the most optimal way of working is, how processes can be more efficient and how you can become more profitable. You need people who are specialized in your industry. An ERP supplier who serves only one industry wants to specialize in how these customers can be helped in the best way possible, while an ERP supplier with many customers in all kinds of industries focuses on selling as much as possible.
Realizing the ambitions vs. focus on the software
How does or did your ERP supplier consider its role in the implementation? A business partner wants your company to work more efficiently and more effectively, so that you achieve your growth objectives. A software vendor wants to sell and implement a properly functioning system without paying attention to how it will help your organization. With a business partner, the success of your organization is the number one priority and the software comes second. Of course, you want an ERP system that works well, but that in itself that is not the goal. That is not what brings you money. Processes that are organized and automated faster, better and without mistakes increase your profits.
"For a business partner, going live is just the beginning instead of the end."
Continuous communication vs. call me when you need me
The implementation is done, you went live and the whole company is working with the new ERP system. What’s next? A software vendor will get out of the picture and only come back when they can sell you more or when you report an issue. For a business partner, going live is just the beginning instead of the end. The start of an intensive partnership to make sure your organization continuously benefits fully from automation. For instance:
- Implement additional functionalities and solutions that have been deliberately saved for a phase after the go live.
- Monitor the usage of the software and, where necessary, implement optimizations, either functional or in the processes.
- Proactively approach your organization in case of changes in legislation and regulations and developments in the industry that have an impact on the software requirements.
- Think along with you during important new steps of your company, such as a takeover, a new office, a new target industry or new products.
Get what you need vs. get what you ask for
“You ask, we provide.” Unfortunately, ERP projects often start with a long list of functional requirements that must all or as far as possible be achieved in the system. Then you get what you have asked for, but it takes a lot of time and money without bringing improvement. You should get what you need. A partner who tells you how to improve, who has insights that you do not have, who brings changes that lead to success. That is what a business partner does and what a software vendor does not.
Philip van Kemenade is marketing manager at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.