What is an ERP consultant? How to choose well an ERP implementation company?
ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning) are software applications that allow centralizing, managing, and coordinating the entire set of activities part of an organization. An ERP comprises several processes: accounting and financial management, supplies, sales, distribution, manufacturing, after-sales, human resources, decision-making, e-commerce, etc. All this within a single system, sometimes even within the same database.
ERPs can prove to be somewhat of a challenge for companies deploying them, making it necessary to require the help of an ERP consultant to select the right tool.
Definition and Description of an ERP Consultant
An ERP consultant is, on the one hand, an expertin a specific subject field such as finance, manufacturing, etc. and, on the other hand, anexpert in the use of an ERP per se. Consequently, the role of an ERP consultant is to advise clients in the selection of one ERP, to analyze with them their needs, and to best satisfy their expectations.
There are three types of consultants:
A functional consultant (also called an ERP implementation consultant) is usually the first point of contact with the client. His or her role is to gather, and then analyze, his or her client’s needs to understand their specific business processes. The goal is to write the project’s specifications, complete its configuration, and to plan and conduct tests.
He or she reviews with the client existing business processes that will be processed using the ERP, and remodels them to better adapt to the capabilities of the solution. It is not always possible for software to solve effectively all the issues with precision. A functional consultant will use gathered information and his or her expertise to determine what the best solution is and ensure that identified factors are considered during implementation.
A Technical Consultant will supply technical assistance to his or her clients to fill in the gaps. In some occurrences, he or she can also be required to develop functionalities specific to the client’s business sector and processes by referring to the needs identified by the functional consultant. He or she must produce technical specifications detailing the contents of the delivery.
The Technical Consultant is also in charge of defining and implementing the solution’s architecture around the client’s ERP. According to the size of the project, he or she can sometimes play a functional role to support the Functional Consultant.
The Technical Consultant is proficient in one or more programming languages related to the client’s ERP. He or she is also an expert of that specific ERP, and has a good understanding of the industry’s unique requirements. He or she will also be able to take care of developing interfaces with other applications.
SME (Subject Matter Expert)
As part of a digital transformation project, resource employees, who work for the client, often times referred to as Subject Matter Experts (SME), have an in-depth knowledge of the field of activity, operations and history of the organization for which they work. Influential players within the organization, they developed, over time, a widely recognized expertise and they are somewhat of a reference in terms of a specific operational process. They act as catalysts allowing an external team of consultants to better understand existing processes comprised in an ERP implementation or upgrade project.
Despite the importance of the role played by the consultant (functional or technical), his or her effectiveness will greatly depend on the resource employees assigned to the project. These key contributors participate in the success of the proposed end solution by taking part in business process review, requirements definition, development prioritization, and end users’ approval tests. Resource employees are crucial to the success and without their involvement, the delivery team would be less competent to define and test requirements.
Credentials, Skill-set, and Qualifications of an ERP Consultant
An ERP consultant is a good listener and educator. His or her extensive technical skills, inquisitiveness, and thoroughness enable him or her to be self-sufficient. He or she is usually a good writer, knowing how to summarize information in a concise and precise way.
An ERP consultant is generally specialized in a specific industry of function. He or she suggests solutions to his or her clients from various industries such as mass distribution, retail, manufacturing, finances, customer relation, etc.
He or she must have great social skills and be able to engage with people to learn all aspects and needs of a company. His or her analysis and synthesis abilities allow him or her to find the best possible management formula for his or her client.
In the industry, getting certified by software publishers confirms the consultant’s skills, expertise, and professional experience with the ERP solution.
Role and Responsibilities of an ERP Consultant
The consultant, subject matter expert, must make a diagnosis, research and propose solutions to improve the company’s or the organization’s functioning using best business practises. As such, he or she is present throughout the entire ERP project and can:
Advise companies with the selection of their future ERP taking into consideration the company’s respective issues and the needs of the users;
Analyze and audit existing management processes, write up the project’s specifications which will later be used to make up the project charter, functional specifications and other documentation;
Redesign the business’s processes by adapting them to the ERP;
Configure and test the application according to the functional needs previously stated;
Identify the software’s missing functionalities and ensure they are developed;
Set up functionalities and integrated processes tests plan with the client;
Facilitate user training sessions, in order to ensure buy-in;
Help clients with the deployment and the start-up of the ERP operation;
The ERP consultant will also ensure after sales services in the months following the implementation of an ERP system, thus ensuring a good transition.
Selecting an ERP Consulting Company
Although today’s ERPs are an essential tool for the good management of an organization, they are known to be somewhat of a difficult choice to make, implement and adopt in the long run. However, when you work with the right procedure, a great team, and benefit from a lot of support, you can make small miracles happen with the deployment of your ERP solution.
ERPs easily adapt to the way users work and to their specific needs, having the appropriate support is all you need to get the best out of what they have to offer.
To achieve this, the control of the technology is a matter of the human behind the system; here, we are referring to the organization the ERP consultant works for. No ERP will be used to its full potential if a judicious choice is not made when selecting an ERP Consulting Firm.
The ERP consultant usually represents a firm or a team of consultants specialized in one or several industries and include a project team, a technical team and financial resources. Everything that is required to implement an ERP. The ERP consulting firm will guarantee the success of your ERP implementation thanks to an adapted and appropriate communication. It will take into account your needs, your issues, your constraints, your habits, and the specific characteristics of your industry to help you implement a complete and powerful ERP solution.
Why choose Createch?
For the last 25 years, our purpose has been to significantly improve our clients’ profitability. Createch sets itself apart from competitors through its extensive expertise combining business process optimization to the implementation of technological solutions.
Choosing Createch, means gaining access to our 250 consultants who collectively hold over 200 different certifications in a wide variety of fields. Based in Canada, we have offices in Montreal, Toronto (Mississauga and Hamilton), Quebec, Sault-Ste-Marie, and Ottawa. We have gained the trust of over 1,500 organizations across Canada and we are still going strong.
We cover the following technological products: SAP, Microsoft, Oracle-NetSuite, IBM Maximo as well as a complete suite of products to complete our business performance improvement offering. To learn more about our solutions, services and the industries we serve, visit our website at createch.ca