Ten years ago, the concept of hiring an ERP software evaluation and selection consultant was a no-brainer.
The Tier 2 ERP software space was growing rampantly and there was little online documentation available on the functional capabilities of many software programs. As it was fairly standard for a company to have a need to implement a core ERP platform, the selection methodologies across consulting firms became fairly standardized and it was clear what you were getting when you hired an ERP software selection consultant.
The changing landscape of the ERP software industry
The landscape today has changed significantly, which we outlined in our top digital transformation predictions for 2019. It is no longer a case where what you see is what you get – both in the case of software as well as with consultants. Consider the following factors when you decide to hire help in selecting your next software platform:
- The enterprise technology space is no longer dominated by core Tier 1 ERP systems. Best-of-breed and niche solutions are creating competitive advantages and becoming necessary to run complex business operations.
- The ERP space itself is always changing. Mergers and acquisitions continue, vendors continue to build on the capabilities of their platforms by purchasing and/or building new functionality and they are all racing towards the tipping point of cloud ERP adoption. By the way, cloud capability for one platform does not equal cloud capability for another, and some are a long way from realizing full cloud functionality.
- The emergence of advance technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), advanced analytics, robotics, blockchain, etc. make the space all that more exciting and confusing at the same time.
- The concept of “ERP” is being taken over by “Digital Transformation.” What this means is that a company’s technology journey does not begin or end with an ERP implementation. ERP remains a backbone for most organizations, but as technology continues to emerge so does the implementation and use of technology. There is a distinct difference between digital transformation vs. an ERP implementation.
- Software functionality is becoming more and more of a skewed line. It’s still important to match your business needs to software capability, but with the flexibility and integration capabilities of most platforms’ functional difference is not as cut and dry as it once was.
- Software functionality is also more readily available online through subscription programs and comparison toolsets. The trick is to actually understand and document what your functional needs are before comparing solutions.
What does this mean for independent ERP software selection consultants?
What this all means for a software selection consultant is that we’ve had to “up” our game. Here are three points to consider when hiring a consultant to help evaluate software:
- Selection firms need to have a greater understanding of “Digital Transformation” than just ERP. They need to be able to guide you through your digital strategy and landscape prior to selecting an ERP. ERP selection by itself is becoming a dangerous pursuit.
- Consultants need to have greater business acumen than ever before. With the great variance in technology available it is far too easy to overspend on technology, and consultants need to advise on true areas of business differentiation and building competitive advantage through technology. Additionally, consultants need to understand the impacts of technology change on people. So commonly overlooked, humans are not machines that can be programmed along with a software program.
- ERP software selection consultants need to carry more than a “methodology”. Methodologies are great once the problem and solution are outlined, but until that point consultants need to be adaptable and adjust their approach accordingly. Even competitors and companies in the same industry are finding that their operations, business approach, growth targets, use of data – and therefore needs for technology – are different and unique.
Many organizations who had selected and implemented technology in the past 10-15+ years are coming to the point where their “ERP” is not standing up to business needs. More than likely it is time to replace the software, but take look a little further outside the box than simply calling any ERP software selection consultants to help you choose your new technology. Be sure to find the best independent ERP consultants for the job.