Most digital transformations are rigged. It was 20 years ago when I started in this space, and it still is today.
I started my first consulting company (Panorama Consulting) back in 2005 because of the lack of unbiased independent ERP consultants in the market. That company at one time filled a need that wasn’t being addressed. Fast forward to 2018 when I spun off from the company and its new co-owners to start Third Stage Consulting, and things are different – but only sort of.
The problem with today’s digital transformation and ERP software industry
The main difference now is that there are a lot of bad actors pretending to be independent. Even some of the world’s leading independent ERP consulting firms aren’t what they seem to be, with their under the table deals with vendors. Systems integrators – who are clearly focused on specific ERP vendors – further add insult to injury by abusing the trust that their clients have in them.
Once you have worked your way through the SAP S/4HANA vs. Oracle Cloud ERP vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 decision, it may seem to be a given that you would hand the keys of your implementation over to your systems integrator. But, there are a number of things that systems integrators aren’t good at, and in many cases, those things run counter to the best interests of their clients.
Here are some of the ways that many systems integrators are either deliberately and/or intentionally rigging your digital transformation:
Systems integrators bias your software selection
Systems integrators are typically focused on one or two ERP systems. Even big systems integrators like Deloitte, Accenture, and Capgemini with multiple systems focus have their biases. There is no way for them to make an objective recommendation to a client’s evaluation when they are a) compensated by vendors for software sales and b) they have a bench of consultants focused on one specific system that they are under pressure to staff. These biases can disrupt a digital transformation before it ever starts.
Systems integrators forget about what digital transformation means
The days of big ERP systems may be long gone, but systems integrators still peddle their one system you hired them for. For example, if you are working with an SAP consultant, chances are that they will try to force fit SAP solutions such as S/4HANA, Business One, Ariba, or Success Factors – regardless of whether or not they are good fits for you. In today’s day and age, it is unrealistic to think that one vendor or system integrator can handle all of your digital transformation needs.
It’s hard to defeat an army of ERP consultants
Big systems integrators have to feed the mouths of their armies of consultants. This doesn’t mean that you should do so without receiving the correlating value. We are working with a large food manufacturing company who received an estimate of over $150M in services and 140 full-time consultants – this is simply ridiculous. Remember that you are in charge of your project, so you get to decide what the team looks like and how much you’re going to spend.
Systems integrators are like the fox guarding the henhouse
With so much to lose in terms of software commissions and millions of dollars of revenue from the army of consultants, your system integrator has bigger fish to fry than what’s right for you. After all, they’re only human. This is why it is so important to have an objective, third-party quality assurance program as part of your overall transformation.
How to unrig your digital transformation
The path to an unrigged digital transformation is pretty simple: hire the best independent ERP consultants that you can find. Consultants such as those at Third Stage can help evaluate your options, plan for implementation, provide third-party implementation oversight, and provide organizational change management support along the way.
Contact me if you would like to discus in more detail. I would be happy to be a sounding board as you continue on your journey!