An ERP implementation partner can provide many benefits. Access to vendors, knowledge of ERP system limitations and issues, and experience in keeping the project on time and within budget. A project team must be aware of red flags that may indicate that their partner in implementation is not right for them.
An implementation partner missing deadlines, An ERP team should be aware of the warning signs such as failing to train or ignoring specific business needs. These are 10 warning signs the project team should be aware of when implementing an ERP.
10 Warning Signs of Choosing the Wrong ERP Implementation Partner
1. Implementation partner misses deadlines
Everyone on the project should figure out why and how to fix it if an implementation partner misses critical deadlines, especially early in the project.
For various reasons, a partner may miss deadlines. The implementation partner might not be completely responsible for the error. The partner should give the project team clear explanations about what happened, and explain how they plan to get back on track. They may also plan to bring in additional resources, or work with the project team on deferring features that are not as important.
The partner may suggest that the consultants be allowed to work longer hours, but the project team needs to be cautious. While longer hours might be beneficial in the short term, the consultants may still need to work more hours to reach the next milestone.
2. Implementation partner experiences frequent employee turnover
It is important for the project team to note when key employees leave the company of the partner.
While it is normal to lose one person, a pattern of company departures should alarm the project team. The project is at risk when employees leave. This can cause problems with the future phases of the project or support for software after going live.
The project team may need to allocate more resources if there is a lot of turnover in the company of the partner. It is possible that the team will need to attend more knowledge transfer sessions with new implementation partners, or that the partner might have difficulty hiring a new consultant.
3. The Implementation Partner offers very little to no training
If the partner isn’t offering proper training, the project team should be cautious. The implementation partner should assist the project team in understanding available vendor training and This training is mandatory. The partner should also supplement the vendor in key areas.
The implementation partner should also explain the ERP system configuration and instructions to the project team in order for them to support it after go-live. They should also provide instructions and documentation for key items.
4. Implementation partner encourages dependence on them
The project team must be vigilant about the partner who takes on extra work during the project, particularly if the partner is willing to do so. For many reasons, it can cause problems. Because of the extra work required, the partner might charge an additional fee for implementation.
If the implementation partner doesn’t work with many customers, it is possible that the partner might be using the implementation as a way to keep their consultants billed. Additional work by the implementation partner could also result in the project team not being able to learn the ERP system properly. and unable to maintain it on their own after going live, leading them to depend on the implementation partner.
5. The implementation partner doesn’t understand business needs
To address unique business requirements, the company is undertaking an ERP installation. The project team should be concerned if the partner doesn’t listen to suggestions or isn’t trying to understand the company’s needs. Another sign is to downplay the company’s needs.
An implementation partner might ignore the company’s business requirements because they aren’t experienced in all areas of business or in a particular business area. They may also be trying to avoid it. In scoping the cost of the implementation project, they may have neglected the business needs.
No matter what the reason, the project team must be concerned if an implementation partner doesn’t pay enough attention to the business needs of the organization.
6. Implementation partner assigns too many junior staff
A typical implementation partner assigns people with different experiences to a project team. The project team must confirm that the partner has provided enough senior and intermediate consultants.
While senior consultants are able to mentor people with less experience, if there are too many junior employees working on the project, the senior consultants may not be able to have enough time for their own tasks as they are helping less experienced colleagues. Junior employees might make mistakes because they don’t have a deep understanding of the ERP system.
7. Implementation consultants are overworked
Project team members should consider weekend and after-hours emails from implementation consultants as red flags. It is possible that the consultants are overworked due to insufficient or incorrectly assigned employees for the project by the implementation partner. The consultants could also burn out, before the project is complete, leaving the project team shorthanded.
8. Implementation consultants’ work is unevenly distributed
While the implementation partner may have multiple consultants assigned to the project, only a few of the key consultants are usually responsible for overseeing the project. Early in the project, it is important for the project team to monitor how many other consultants are relying on them. A bottleneck could arise later if everything has to go through the key advisors.
9. Implementation partner submits costly change requests
The change requests should be closely monitored by the project team. When the team discovers that a requirement is significantly more complex than the implementation partner thought, it may lead to a change in cost. Many change requests are common in large implementations. However, the project team should keep track of them and validate the reason.
Sometimes, the request does not have to include additional costs. In other cases, the partner might just want to document the decision made during implementation. Many change requests can lead to additional work and cost companies extra. Project delays can also be caused by change requests because the team must incorporate the new requirements into the project schedule.
The project team should confirm that the requirement has not been missed by the implementation partner earlier in the project.
10. Implementation partner’s documentation is insufficient
The ERP system configuration documentation is usually done by the implementation partner. Documentation is important for ensuring that both the project team members and the implementation partner are on the same page regarding the direction of the project. It also serves as a useful resource in case there are any changes after go-live.
An implementation partner who doesn’t document the ERP system configuration may not be experienced or are using shortcuts. Another sign that an implementation partner wants to make the company dependent on them after go-live is the absence of documentation. All of these are red flags.
The project leader should have an open and honest conversation with the vendor if any of these warning signs are present. The leader should identify the specific issues before the meeting and possibly share some with the vendor to help them prepare.
If issues continue after a vendor meeting the project leader should consider raising the issue within their company and with the vendor and avoiding any further contracts with them. Before the vendor signs on for additional work, they should address all issues.