As we roll into Thanksgiving week, I wanted to give thanks to our wonderful clients. Certainly, some are better than others, but all are greatly appreciated!
So, what makes a good client? Besides paying their bills on time, the best clients can very easily be identified based on the success of their digital transformation. Those who have successfully implemented ERP, CRM, HCM, or whatever the case may be, are good clients. Simple as that and here are the reasons:
Good clients listen: Similar to good students, good digital transformation clients need to listen, and follow the advice they are given. Take the case of a recent wholesale distribution company that was convinced they needed to implement SAP S/4HANA due to complexities of their business including multiple warehouses, 3PLs, international supply chain, and the need to integrate with every shipping service known to man. They called us in to help guide them through their software procurement and implementation readiness. Upon reviewing their business, we concluded that while SAP could certainly do the job for them, that it may be overkill. We helped them through a quick software evaluation and found a Tier 2 solution that saved them both time and money over the S/4HANA route.
Good clients are flexible with their business processes: Digital transformation is difficult, and part of that difficulty stems from having to change (and hopefully improve) business processes. Good clients understand this and are willing to take the next step with their business. If flexibility around the process is not followed, it can lead to unnecessary customization, integrations, or lack of ROI. It is important to be able to differentiate the difference between those processes that provide your business with a competitive edge, and those that are simply the result of a lack of proper technology.
Good clients understand the long game: Digital transformation is not a quick-hit scenario. There may be pieces of it that provide an immediate return, but a complete transformation will take time. If this process is rushed, we find cases where the needed benefits are not realized, we find frustration and lack of user adoption, we find broken integrations and muddled processes. In the long run, these issues will cost more money, more time, and put more risk on the business than taking an optimal approach from the beginning.
Good clients ask questions: One important thing that good clients don’t do is simply ride along, assuming that everything is going well without having a clear understanding. Assuming that your consultants and system integrators are doing what is best for your business without questioning them when things do not make sense, is a recipe for disaster. The best clients are therefore a part of the process, they make sure they are providing business insight when needed and putting the right kind of pressure on the consulting teams. This might sound counter-intuitive, but holding in questions and concerns never ends well.
Looking back over the past year we have had many great clients, and we look forward to helping more great clients heading into 2021. If you are concerned or unsure of how successful you might be in an ERP or other form of digital transformation, the final success factor for defining a good client is the ability and willingness to be educated. The entire process of transformation, especially at the current advanced levels that technology provides, is new to the majority of organizations that will undertake an initiative this coming year. Allow yourself to learn, listen to your consultants, have flexibility with your processes, take your time, and be sure to involve yourself in the process.
If you have any questions regarding your digital transformation journey or want more information on how to be an engaged client, please feel free to contact me directly.