Should John Elway Implement ERP Software or Coach Football?

Written By: Brian Potts
Date: May 4, 2019

The obvious answer is certainly football, but the real answer may be neither.

Similar to hiring an ERP system implementer where there is an urge to go for the big name, call it Accenture, Deloitte, Capgemini, etc., you may be better off with a second or third tier football coach.

Before hiring John to coach your junior how to throw a ball, or before you bring on Deloitte to implement your newly purchased SAP software, consider the following:

Big names cost money. Consider what you would pay John to teach your kid, even an hour per week. Unless you are loaded or absolutely certain your youngster is headed to the NFL, consider working with a coach that has a little less notoriety and a lower hourly rate.

Same with your ERP implementation. Accenture has the name and recognition, but you will potentially pay for more than you need (we sometimes refer to this as “getting Accentured”). Unless you need the skillset of a Deloitte Partner and team, consider translating your dollars into more consulting hours. Avoiding this trap could be a key way to save $5M+ in ERP implementation costs.

Being a small fish in a big pond tends to leave you vulnerable. Priorities of your coach and your implementation partner and their level of interest in working with you need to be considered. How many junior players would welcome an opportunity to work with John Elway? All of them would, and John would need to be very particular with who he works with.

Likewise, Accenture has thousands of clients and has a marketing team that actually could handle marketing the NFL. Unless you are a big name, consider that you will get their “B” team and not receive the attention you need for a successful ERP implementation.

Consider actual skill set. In mine and many others’ opinion, John Elway is perhaps the best quarterback ever to grace the gridiron. This does not necessarily mean he is a good coach. Big4/5 accounting firms are known for auditing, as well as having capabilities in management consulting, tax, M&A, risk and financial advisory, analytics, etc. ERP implementation is a very small piece of their revenue and they also tend to wok with very large organizations. If you are a mid-size company, why would you choose this route?

Living in Denver I have great admiration for John Elway, but I don’t believe I would hire him for private football lessons. It just doesn’t make sense for my situation and would cost me too much money.

I also have great appreciation for the ability of the large auditing firms to handle some of the most complex ERP implementations on the planet, but as we evaluate implementation partners for our clients, it rarely makes sense to bring on the big guns to manage their implementation.

Instead, consider the factors outlined above, specifically cost, interest, competition and focus to find the best fit for your ERP system implementer.

Brian Potts

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