Finding the right partner for your ERP project
12 Aug

Find the right partner for the ERP project

In theory, the introduction of a ERP system also possible with sufficiently experienced staff. However, in practice it is difficult to balance the responsibility of such a project only on internal shoulders. However, it is quite difficult to find the right partner for the ERP project to find.

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In order not to strain the capacities of the company's staff unnecessarily, one likes to get external help. But in addition to the necessary software know-how, your implementation partner should also have experience in project management. How to find the right ERP partner and (successfully) shape the project process together ? here is a guide.

1. the right partner for the ERP project

The choice is huge: freelancers, consultancies as well as system houses are possible implementation partners. The following list of criteria can make your choice a little easier:

  • Quantity of executed implementations of your desired ERP system
  • Reference customers from your industry who are satisfied with both the ERP and the implementation
  • In the case of standard software: Is the partner certified by the software manufacturer?
  • Does the capacity of the potential partner cover your project?
  • Creditworthiness also available (e.g. liability insurance up to what amount?)
  • Good presentation of the ERP system with the data and tasks you have set up (no idealised presentations with data from the partner)
  • In general, to take into account the partner's experience, suggestions and tools used.

Tip:

One ERP implementation not only carries a high cost risk. Day-to-day business must also be kept running and the danger of employees losing motivation must be avoided. That's why we never tire of saying: involve your employees. Also in the selection of potential partners.

2. the right contract

Depending on the degree of complexity, an ERP implementation can have a duration of 9 to 15 months. In order to make a project successful over this long period of time, it is essential that it is based on a suitable contract with the partner for the ERP project. For ERP implementations, this is usually done via a Specifications and define a specification based on this. In addition, the following topics must be clarified with the partner:

Subject of the ERP project

  • Check whether you are concluding a so-called contract for work and services (claim to success in the sense of a trade/object) or a service contract (claim to the provision of a service without owed success).
  • Choose a good time (e.g. quarterly closing) for the changeover to the new system
  • Define the following services
    1. Quantity of licences, as well as costs for standard software
    2. Costs of implementation, i.e. analysis, concept, programming, testing, adaptation and conversion as well as transfer of legacy data
    3. Training (type/scope)
    4. Documentation (type/scope)
    5. Support after conversion

Changes / Change Request

  • Change management (change request)
    An ERP implementation in which no changes occur that were NOT foreseen in the requirements specification is not a real ERP implementation. So define at the beginning of the project how such change requests (CR) will be documented, costed and released. Without good CR management, your planned budget will quickly be exceeded.

Remuneration and payment conditions

  • If possible, agree on a fixed price with your ERP partner to increase planning security. It is very likely that this fixed price will be overdrawn because of the change requests. Therefore, include a little more in your internal cost calculation (min. 15%).
  • If the conversion date is not met due to shortcomings on the part of the partner, a contractual penalty can also be obtained (if stipulated in the contract).
  • Timing of invoicing and system of acceptance

Attendance duties

  • Participation obligations of the principal
    Even with points that are not important at first, such as tests, documentation or training courses it must be clearly defined what the ERP partner can and may demand from you and your employees
  • Rights to the programmed solution

3. the right project structure

The distribution of roles in the ERP project

For the successful implementation of an ERP project, the distribution of roles is the be-all and end-all. Situations in which, for example, the internal project manager has tasks of the Key Users It is therefore essential to avoid taking on the role of a project manager because he or she is busy with day-to-day business. It is best to determine who will take on which role with all internal and external participants before the project begins. Also document the organisational aspects (e.g. substitutions, appointments).

The Steering Committee

As a steering institution, it is essential to have a Steering Committee include. This consists of the internal and external project managers, as well as the sponsors. This group should resolve conflicts between the client and the contractor and must also approve all important decisions.

The role of the internal and external project sponsor should be clearly defined. The Internal project sponsor is the management and a member of the steering committee. He has to make the decisions (e.g. rejection of change requests) and represents the company's side in resource conflicts.
Of the External project sponsor holds the lead position of the implementation partner. He is also a member of the steering committee and is also responsible for decisions.
The internal and external project management is also a member of this steering committee. However, they are responsible for keeping to the deadlines and costs, and for ensuring that the client and the contractor provide the necessary input.

The project managers

Of the Internal project managers also collects the change requests of the key users and coordinates them with the external project manager. He is also responsible for documenting the distribution of roles (exercise) in the project.
Of the External project managers must, on the other hand, take into account the change requests received and, on the basis of this, makes its recommendation for (non-)approval.

The Key Users

Of the Key User in turn is responsible for the correct process description and defines the requirements for the new system. He also applies for the change requests to the internal project manager. He also carries out the tests on the system.

Tip:

Be sure to appoint someone as internal project leader who is a strong and opinionated personality and has gained a lot of experience in the company. This may be noticeable in your daily work, but it pays off. The key user should also be such a personality. There should also be a deputy for each of these positions.

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