#NotImpressed with your current ERP consulting firm?
You might remember McKayla Maroney—the world champion gymnast turned internet sensation—from the 2012 London Olympics. She was favored to win the vault but didn’t stick her final landing and walked away with a silver medal instead. Disappointment briefly flashed across her face on the podium, but that’s all it took. The #notimpressed meme was born.
Like Olympians, consultants are regarded as the best-of-the-best. They have extensive experience, deep subject matter knowledge, and highly specialized skills. That’s why you hired one to assist with your ERP project! But what happens when you’re not seeing the results you expected and are #notimpressed?
Below we’ve outlined 5 signs of a bad ERP consultant and how to find the right partner for your project.
5 Signs of a Bad ERP Consultant
There are blatant signs—missed deadlines, unresponsiveness, and poor performance—and some that are harder to recognize. Here are 5 not-so-obvious warning signs that your consultant might not be up to snuff.
1. Makes More Excuses than Progress
ERP projects are complex, so unexpected twists and turns aren’t an indication of failure. But if all you’re hearing is reasons why work “can’t” get done, the consultant may not be as skilled or experienced as you were led to believe.
2. Not Asking Questions
The devil is in the details, and those details are often uncovered by asking questions. If your consultant isn’t asking questions, they may be making assumptions about processes, goals, risks, and more. And we all know what happens when you assume…
3. Downplays Value of Employees
Is your consultant insinuating internal employees lack the skills to take on ERP projects in-house? While these recommendations may have merit, this tactic aims to set the stage for long-term work. Be wary of anyone who considers themselves indispensable and doesn’t make knowledge transfer and teamwork a priority.
4. Pushing Products/Software
Good consultants focus on their clients’ best interests, not sales quotas. If third-party products are “strongly recommended” by your consultant, be aware they may be getting kickbacks. While not always illegal, it makes you question their loyalty and motive.
5. One-Size-Fits-All Strategies
Trademarked Approaches™ and structured processes are great marketing fodder. But when it comes to an ERP project, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. A good consultant should focus on solving their client’s problems and not be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
5 Qualities to Look for in an ERP Consultant
The work still needs to get done after you let the other consultant go. So how do you avoid ending up with another disappointment? Below are 5 qualities you should expect from an ERP consultant (or any kind of consultant, for that matter).
1. Subject Matter Expert
Knowing about an ERP system is one thing, but being an expert is another. Look for someone with several years’ experience completing similar projects—whether as a consultant or a permanent employee—as well as industry knowledge. When evaluating firms, be sure to confirm that the talent they’re luring you in with is the same consultant who will be on project.
2. Highly Rated
These days, we don’t buy anything without scouring hundreds of online reviews first. Why should hiring a consultant for a business-critical ERP system be any different? When selecting a consultant for your project, word-of-mouth recommendations are a great source of insight. Check LinkedIn for shared connections to get feedback from trusted sources.
Sometimes projects are black and white. But when projects can be tackled from several different fronts, it’s important to know what is fueling the strategy roadmap. Are breadcrumbs being left behind for future work? Are you getting pressure to upgrade or add additional licenses? Does your consultant place your project success above all else? Keep an eye out for firms who are transparent about any vendor/firm relationships.
For example, cough cough, while Surety Systems is an Oracle Gold Partner and Infor Solution Delivery partner, we are 100% independent and do not sell licenses or have any incentive to push technology upgrades.
Consultants should be truly invested in the success of their clients. They achieve this success by fixing the problem they were called on to address but also through empowerment. Seek a consultant who shares the “why” in addition to the “what.” This way, you’ll have the tools to succeed even well after the consultant leaves. And in the event you need them again, you have a trusted resource to call on.
5. Able to See the Big Picture
ERP consultants bring value through their technical know-how, outside perspective, and ability to connect ideas that may not seem obvious. Find a consultant with a strategic mindset, who can anticipate and optimize downstream effects of system changes. This one’s a bit harder to judge before bringing them on board, but asking for specific examples will help you get a feel for their abilities.
Though no one wants to deal with “dud” ERP consultants, it happens. The best you can do is learn from the experience and get back on that vault… er, horse, and try again.