When interviewing potential ERP consultants, good questions are your best assets. Instead of selling a product, they are selling themselves and their expertise. In many ways, they are rewarded for telling you what you want to hear because their mission is to get hired. And if you don’t know too much about ERP software, it can be hard to distinguish the true experts from the guys who are just blowing smoke.

Asking the right questions is key in this situation. At the end of the day, you want to trust your ERP consultant because they’re an important part of driving a successful implementation. Here are five questions you should ask when interviewing potential ERP consultants.

Who will be on my transformation team?

When it comes to hiring ERP consultants, it’s important to know who will be on managing your project before you sign. Will you be interacting with the organization’s leadership or will they assign a group of interns to oversee your account? These days, it’s all too easy to buy into the marketing tactics that many firms use to acquire new business. If industry knowledge is what you value most in a prospective consultant, a certain level of due diligence will ensure that your expectations are met. By asking these questions, you can avoid being “sold” by sales professionals that won’t be involved in executing your business transformation.

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How does your track record compare to your references?

This question is a two-parter. The first question you should ask concerns the consultant’s success rate. Consultants love to boast about their success rates, and it’s your job to verify those claims. Luckily, this is easy to do if you ask them a simple follow-up — just ask them to share a few references. By checking in with some of their previous clients, you can verify that the consultant you’re hiring can walk the walk. If they claim to have a 100% success rate but their previous clients aren’t satisfied with their work, you’ll know that there’s nothing there but marketing fluff.

What does your relationship with software influencers look like?

The importance of hiring an objective ERP consultant cannot be overstated. Given the fast pace of technological change and the fragmented ERP vendor landscape, finding an objective, technology-agnostic voice is critical to get the best fitting system during the software evaluation process and finding the best path forward for your digital strategy in general. Unfortunately, finding an unbiased partner is easier said than done. These days, consultants are more incentivized than ever to offer biased advice to their customers. It’s part of ERP vendors’ business models to leverage consultants’ influence to sell more software. By asking tough questions about consultant biases, it’s possible to weed out the true experts from those peddling whatever software for the vendor that gives the best kickbacks.

Are you an innovator in the industry?

This question is a good litmus test for ERP consultants. Innovators in the industry are always talking about what’s going on and the latest digital trends. If you’re looking for a true thought leader in the space, it’s a good idea to look at what a firm is publishing — whether it’s content on their website, blog, YouTube channel, or somewhere else. Take note of the content. Is the subject matter relevant? Are they conveying information in a way you can understand? These posts can give you a sense of a firm’s personality and professionalism. If you don’t like the way they present themselves, it may not be a good match.

Another way firms can showcase their expertise is by acting as expert witnesses in legal cases. Lawyers will hire ERP consultants as an objective third party to weigh in on the true cause of a disputed ERP failure. This litigation work experience keeps firms on top of the latest laws surrounding digital transformation practices and showcases a certain standing within the industry.

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How do you ensure customer satisfaction?

At the end of the day, customer satisfaction is all that matters. This question will reveal how they plan to guarantee their performance as a consultant. If they don’t have a plan now for how they will ensure a good experience, they may never have one. Do they have a plan for organizational change management? Can they help with process mapping? Will they provide value from inception to completion of the project? Customer satisfaction starts from the first interaction to the time your team has fully adapted new technology, and it’s important to understand how the prospective consultant can deliver on each phase of the project.

At Third Stage, we pride ourselves on providing objective ERP help to our clients. But that doesn’t mean you should let us off easy during the interview process. After reading this article, I hope you have a few questions to keep up your sleeve for your next interview, whether that’s with our organization or someone else’s. If you want to talk digital transformation, we’re always ready to chat. We are happy to hop on an introductory call and learn more about your needs as you continue your journey. Contact us: info@thirdstage-consulting.com

Back in the day, sports cars had a lot more trade-offs — you had to choose between speed, comfort, and reliability. As technology has improved over the years, the auto industry has become more well-rounded with newer vehicles offering a balance of consumers’ most-wanted features, leaving only a few nuances to set one apart from another.

In many ways, we’re seeing a similar story when it comes to ERP systems, whose technology has also improved quickly over time. As the gap narrows between competitors, it can be a fun and helpful exercise to compare a few of the top ERP systems with a few of the most well-known sports cars to help you get a better grasp on the market.

ServiceNow - Tesla Model S P90D

ServiceNow is a relative newcomer as an ERP system, but they are quickly gaining momentum, cracking our list of Top 10 ERP systems just this year. Despite a relative lack of time spent in the market, ServiceNow has been gaining ground fast. Because of this rapid rise in the market, I chose the Tesla Model S P90D as Service Now’s sports car equivalent, and that’s not where the similarities end. Both ServiceNow and Tesla are non-traditional organizations that are making waves within their industry, regardless of how new they are in the space. Tesla differentiates itself in the auto industry by selling only electric cars. ServiceNow is not a traditional ERP system but uses a foundation of ticketing software to attract service-based organizations.

Infor - Ford Mustang Mach-E

Right now, Infor is in a state of transition, moving from a legacy product to a cloud-based product. This is what makes it the perfect match for the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which also went through a well-publicized transition from gas to electric power. The Ford Mustang has always been the workhorse of the sports car world, just as Infor is the favorite for the makers in the manufacturing industry. In terms of the future, Infor and the Ford Mustang Mach-E are both taking strides to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. However, this can leave some questions unanswered when it comes to the product roadmap and long-term vision.

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SAP S/4Hana - Porsche 911

Before Tesla took over, the king of 0-60 for many, many years was the Porsche 911. Eventually, new technologies, like electric motors, caught up with the Porsche 911, knocking it down a few rungs on the ladder. Something very similar is happening with SAP, the current leader in ERP market share. This year, SAP’s trouble with adoption came to a head, when they announced that all customers would have to switch to their new S/4Hana cloud platform by 2025. Despite ruffling a few feathers, SAP will continue to be a power player in the ERP world. However, as more and more companies offer better, easier, and cheaper alternatives, they may have to get used to their new place in the pecking order. We’ll see how their acquisition of Signavio helps them maintain their lead.

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SAGE - Chevy Corvette

A Chevy Corvette is an all-around quality pick for the price when it comes to sports cars, which is what makes Sage the perfect analog. Sage is one of the most consistent ERP systems currently on the market and they are gaining momentum with every manufacturer and industrial organization they convert. Sage offers a few key functionalities that others don’t, but the big draw is simplicity and knowing what you’re going to get — just like the Corvette. Chevy has been in the car game for a long time, and year after year, they still manage to stay competitive with whatever comes out that year.

IFS - Alpha Romeo 4C

When you think IFS, you have to think Alpha Romeo. The ERP system and the sports car both come from decently-sized companies but both brands are still flying under the public’s radar for the most part. Both IFS and Alpha Romeo are focused on the niche product experience, though one is an Italian sports car and the other is an ERP system dedicated to service-based organizations. Despite having no robust partner network, IFS has grown a cult-like following in industries like construction and utility, making them the perfect match for Alpha Romeo, who enjoys the same small-town fame among luxury car enthusiasts.

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In many ways, ERP software selection is a lot like shopping for a car. You may choose to prioritize different features like ticketing functionality, user interface, or speed, but at the end of the day, you want to feel good about the investment you just made.

At Third Stage Consulting, we help our clients get that peace of mind that’s often missing when you walk out of a car dealership. We give our clients the unbiased information they need about digital strategy and the world of ERP software implementation, and our virtual door is always open. So if you want more information on ERP software systems or if you just want to chat about the latest sports cars, please feel free to contact us.

Epilogue Systems, the leader in workforce productivity acceleration and business process documentation, today announced they have partnered with Third Stage Consulting Group, the leading technology-agnostic digital transformation and ERP software consulting firm, led by industry veteran and digital transformation expert Eric Kimberling. This new partnership will help drive digital transformation success for high performing organizations through improved workforce digital adoption and critical business process documentation.

According to Kimberling, one of the primary reasons digital transformation initiatives fail is because organizations underestimate the difficulty of getting users to adopt new technologies. “Most businesses underestimate the importance of organizational change management as part of digital transformation,” said Kimberling. “It’s easier for people to keep doing what they’ve always done, regardless of what new software has been rolled out across an organization. Change management is a crucial component of driving end user adoption of ERPs and other enterprise applications, and without carving out time, expertise, and budget to enable it, the success of a digital transformation is at risk.”

Mike Graham, CEO of Epilogue Systems, added, “I’m thrilled to be partnered with Eric and Third Stage Consulting and to be working together to improve application adoption outcomes. Our Digital Adoption and Productivity Acceleration Platform, Opus, makes it easy to document critical business processes rapidly and at scale. Then we deliver that documentation and guidance to the right user at the right time--in their workflow. The end result helps drive digital adoption, adherence to new processes, and improves overall end-user productivity."

Additionally, Epilogue will be participating in Third Stage Consulting Group’s Digital Stratosphere 2019 conference, to be held in Chicago, IL, August 7-9. Digital Stratosphere is the premier independent educational and peer networking event for organizations about to embark on a digital transformation or ERP / CRM/ HCM implementation. For more information about Digital Stratosphere 2019, visit https://stratosphere2019.com/.

About Third Stage Consulting

Third Stage is a leading independent consulting firm that offers highly specialised services focused on supporting clients worldwide in delivering transformational benefits from their digital and ERP initiatives.

Third Stage enables organisations of all sizes to maximise the value of their digital transformation & ERP solutions. Based in Denver, Colorado and Maidenhead, UK, Third Stage is not aligned to any ERP or digital technology provider, offering clients completely unbiased strategic advice, selection, implementation and assurance services through a growing network of highly skilled consultants dedicated to digital transformations.

About Epilogue Systems

Epilogue Systems is the creator of Opus, the world’s first Productivity Acceleration Platform (PAP), and Smart Documentation, the fastest and easiest way to create business process documentation. By facilitating proprietary knowledge sharing, providing embedded, contextual guidance in the flow of work, and gathering behavioral and user insights that enterprises currently lack, Epilogue is enabling organizations to work smarter, accelerate productivity and drive profitability. Epilogue Systems’ software is used by some of the world’s most innovative enterprises, including members of the Fortune 500.

Technology-agnostic ERP software and digital transformation specialists launch European subsidiary to better support global client base

30 May 2019

DENVER, CO – Third Stage Consulting Group, the leading technology-agnostic digital transformation and ERP software consulting firm, today announced their expansion into Europe, appointing Stuart Robb as Vice President, Europe. He will be responsible for developing Third Stage’s consulting business in the European marketplace, following the company’s phenomenal growth since its launch in the US a little over a year ago.

Stuart Robb brings to Third Stage over 20 years of experience in delivering technology-enabled business transformation, having had senior consultancy roles previously with Ernst & Young and Cap Gemini Australia. Stuart has run ERP implementations across a diverse range of clients including SME and blue-chip organisations and in many industry sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, travel & airline, property, publishing, software and government. Stuart is also an active member of the Institute of Directors.

“Stuart’s appointment is the next significant step for us in our bid to extend our capability internationally.” comments Eric Kimberling, founder and CEO of Third Stage. “This move strengthens our ability to help businesses across the US & Europe deliver transformational benefit from their digital initiatives. Stuart’s experience of leading enterprise change across the entire target operating model will cement our reputation as the first-choice provider of advisory, selection, implementation, assurance services in the ERP space.”

Stuart Robb adds: “Third Stage is one of the very few fully independent consulting firms that’s entirely focused on delivering digital and ERP business transformations. I’m extremely excited to become part of the Third Stage family and to bring their insight, methods and independent approach to the UK and European market. I look forward to helping Third Stage build its European business and deliver on its long-term ambition to be a global consultancy provider.”

About Third Stage

Third Stage is a leading independent consulting firm that offers highly specialised services focused on supporting clients worldwide in delivering transformational benefits from their digital and ERP initiatives.

Third Stage enables organisations of all sizes to maximise the value of their digital transformation & ERP solutions. Based in Denver, Colorado and Maidenhead, UK, Third Stage is not aligned to any ERP or digital technology provider, offering clients completely unbiased strategic advice, selection, implementation and assurance services through a growing network of highly skilled consultants dedicated to digital transformations.

Press contact: Michael Huang at Michael.Huang@thirdstage-consulting.com.

Third Stage Consulting

Third Stage Consulting Group is a global thought leader in business transformation, ERP software systems, operational change management, and business advisory. Let us take your organization’s digital transformation to the Third Stage.
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