An ERP project is like a small child. Barely on its feet, it wants to start running. The frustration is great when the first wobbly steps end up on the seat of the trousers. It takes stamina to keep going. And often a helping hand.
In the case of our ERP offspring, this takes the form of a supporting provider. However, this support is often cost-intensive beyond the project, because ERP support and updates are often only contractually considered in small parts and included in the ERP budget plan. This vendor dependency can quickly become a running bill for the company. However, you can take precautions and keep the support requirements within normal limits.0
A good option is, for example, to negotiate an individual contract. This means that you do not sign a contract that is based on the provider's templates. The points included in the contract are often relevant from the provider's point of view and consist of standard services that are not tailored to your needs. In the long run, it is also more important to negotiate a good price for updates than to set up the software once. It is also important that you find out what is important to you (Process analysis) and also record this exactly (Specifications). Because the provider, no matter how experienced, often cannot know this.
In order to avoid any disputes after the project is completed, you should also define how it can be determined whether the expectations have been met. It is also important how this is determined and who is authorised to do so. Often a system availability of 99.9% is guaranteed without defining availability. This ignores e.g. maintenance times. If a success value is defined, you know what to expect and the provider knows what to focus on. If you have difficulties in determining the success value, take their Objective to help. If you know what you expect from your ERP system, you can also define what it has to do.
It is usually the case that changes to the project planning, objectives and the implementation itself still have to be made during the project. Therefore, the contract should be flexible enough to be changed at any time. This saves a lot of time afterwards in the finished system and cost-intensive processing. In this sense, it is advisable to consult the contract from time to time during the project and to check its coherence with the project process.
It is also important to maintain communication between client and provider - and not by email. Set up regular meetings to discuss which support steps were helpful and which still need to be improved. The contract can then be adapted to the results. In this way, support always remains effective and is used in the right place.0