The Value of Independent ERP Advice

Written By: Bob Blanchette
Date: October 23, 2020

As an ERP consultant, one of the more common questions we get is why do we share so much information? Sharing information and creating the content that goes along with it takes a lot of time, so why do we do it? There are several reasons, so let’s touch on a few.

Not enough independent public ERP information available to companies

Software companies and resellers of software are focused on one thing – to get you to buy their software and buy it now. The various types of available ERP software each have something unique to offer. Depending on which ones you’re considering, they may or may not be the best fit for your business and your company’s future needs. While we will often discuss software brands and versions, the intent is to give you a general background of what we’re seeing and experiencing with a particular software. The key piece is that all insights are independent and technology agnostic. Many companies share this content as a means to drive sales toward a certain software, but as an independent firm, we provide this content to help guide people through their digital transformation.

If you visit our website or subscribe to our content, you’re also going to benefit from subjects like achieving transformation readiness, risk mitigation, and the importance of organizational change management (OCM).

Our goal of sharing information is not to help you pick a software by watching one of our videos or downloading one of our papers. Quite the opposite, actually. Hopefully, you’re getting the message that there are many steps and miles to travel before selecting a software. Topics that should be explored like forming a cohesive project team, executive alignment, and OCM to name a few. Companies that begin their ERP initiatives by first picking a software are at far greater risk of project delays, cost overruns, and ERP failure.

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Our goal is to help educate about the logical steps, stage gates, and the complexity and variety of tasks involved - because you’re probably not hearing this type of information from many other sources. When talking about ERP initiatives, you’re bound to encounter false assumptions and sometimes unreliable data both from inside and outside of your company.

One source of truth

The phrase “one source of truth” can mean different things to people, but many equate it with data storage. Third Stage Consulting utilizes this phrase to help shape ERP initiatives and create public content with consistency. Content that is consistently well thought out and continuously improved.

Additionally, a lot of what we share is gleaned from actual ERP projects and real-life examples we encounter while working with clients around the world. We try not to tell you what you want to hear, but rather focus on what you need to hear. It may not be popular to talk about the prevalence of executive misalignment, or that an RFP can attract the wrong resources because the tool was flawed, to begin with, but we’re going to talk about it. We are going to talk about the things no one is talking about.

Whether you’re reading one of our blogs or viewing our videos, you get a sample of our honest, independent, and sometimes unexpected opinions. While our company is made up of unique personalities, we share the same training, value systems, project management skills, and, above all, a dedication to helping clients in a relatable way. While customer needs differ, our commitment and approach have that “one source” consistency.

How does this help you? Well, you will receive unbiased advice and knowledge that will hopefully assist you and your company. Our main objective is to collaborate with clients rather than sell them something. An educated customer is the best type of client, and they will greatly contribute to a positive result and partnership.

Because we don’t sell software (or get paid by having software alliances), we run our business on a different objective. Our focus is to help companies focus on the steps and resources to successfully reach the software selection stage, and once the most viable software is chosen, walk them through how to successfully implement.

Negotiations are key

Software pricing is intentionally ambiguous, and a promised discount isn’t always really a discount. In addition, it’s important to note that the initial cost of the software is not going to be your biggest long-term cost. Like software pricing, software contracts are intentionally complex and typically contain cost provisions and escalations that, if not negotiated appropriately, will not serve your best interests in the long run. Yes, your contract can be negotiated but each software company negotiates very differently. For example, some will negotiate the cost of user licenses and some will not. We can help.

We are able to work on your behalf to negotiate the heck out of the price of a software. Fortunately, we have a plethora of confidential information in our database to know the real cost of most software packages that give us an upper hand in negotiations.

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The questions you’ll learn to ask could have immense value

Does your company have experience building an ERP budget? What metrics and methods will you use to ensure the project stays on a budget? Does the budget account for project team turnover? Have you built a contingency budget as part of the plan? Our content runs through the details of what you should be attentive to to set your digital transformation up for success.

If you’d like to discuss your upcoming project in more detail, feel free to contact me for a frank discussion or to simply solicit our opinion on anything ERP related. I think you’ll find our “one source of truth” and guiding principles refreshingly honest.

Blanchette, Bob
Bob Blanchette

Bob brings a creative blend of understanding operational benefit and navigating employee resistance to change, ultimately helping organization realize success and benefit through maximizing the effectiveness of people. He holds a successful track record of HR leadership and promoting fair and unbiased outcomes.

Bob Blanchette
Bob brings a creative blend of understanding operational benefit and navigating employee resistance to change, ultimately helping organization realize success and benefit through maximizing the effectiveness of people. He holds a successful track record of HR leadership and promoting fair and unbiased outcomes.
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