ERP Consultant – Who’s going to guide you?

ERP ConsultantAn ERP consultant is essential for you ERP implementation.

But which one do you need?

To achieve success with your ERP, a team of consultants is needed to help you through your ERP implementation.

The great majority of businesses don’t have the knowledge to implement an ERP. This is the reason a lot of implementations fail one way or another.

Chances are you’ll have to hire more than one ERP consultant.

They’ll make sure that a good implementation plan is put into place and followed. From the business analysis to deployment, they’ll manage the project, the risks and greatly increase the chances your project in done in time and within budget.

ERP Consultants needed for an Implementation

ERP Business analyst

When you’re doing an ERP implementation, the business analyst is the first ERP consultant you need. He’s responsible for the business analysis, which includes analyzing the business processes and business needs.

Once he’s finished with these analyses, he’ll know your business inside and out. He’ll then be in a much better position than anyone to help you through the ERP selection process.

Advantages of having an Business Analyst on your side

An ERP business analyst will make sure that:

  • the ERP fits the business processes
  • the ERP answers the business needs
  • the ERP is technically viable (will it work with the company’s infrastructure?, is it stable?, etc.)
  • the vendor’s team configure the ERP optimally
  • you get a quicker return on investment

ERP Project manager

The project manager is responsible for planning and executing the project.

His job starts after the ERP is purchase. He’ll work with the implementation team to establish a schedule and he’s responsible for following each step to make sure the project is on schedule.

He also needs to assess the risks of the implementation before and during the implementation. When a problem arises, he has to analyze what’s the impact and reevaluate the project schedule if necessary.

Since very few ERP implementations are done in time and within the budget, do not overlook this important ERP consultant.

ERP Integrator

An integrator is an essential ERP consultant. He comes in at the beginning of the ERP integration phase and will configure the ERP according to the business analysis.

He will configure the different modules to make sure they work together according to the business processes. He’ll also parameterize the software.

An ERP is almost never built to work as-is in a company, so there is a significant amount of configuration to do to make it works as needed. That is the job of the integrator.

Database administrator (DBA)

The database management system is an important part of an ERP system. Even if the user has no direct interaction with it, it has to be well configured and optimized.

The job of the DBA is to make sure the database will support all the users and data transfers. Before deployment, he needs to do stress-tests on the database. After, he may be needed to optimize the database from time to time.

The bigger a database gets, the more important the DBA is.

ERP Developer

Very few ERP will cover 100% of a business needs, so more often than not, a developer will be needed to cover the parts the ERP can’t.

For example, if we have an ERP that covers all the processes but the sales, he would integrate the CRM and ERP. He’ll make them “speak” together so that they transfer data back and forth.

A developer could be needed during the integration phase where he’ll work with the integrator. He’s going to build the bridges between the different systems of the company.

Note that the more you personalized an ERP, the pricier it gets to maintain the software in the long run. Most of the time, it’s better to ask the ERP vendor to develop a new module in their system, since they’ll be responsible for maintaining that function, not you.

Network administrator

The network administrator will manage everything related to the network and servers. While he doesn’t really have anything to do with the software part, he’s still essential. He’ll configure the servers and optimize the network to ensure efficient data transmission and server performance.

Normally you would want the network admin to be an employee of the company. It is not always the case in small businesses, but shouldn’t be a problem for larger enterprises. He needs to know the network and servers in order to allow the consulting team to install and configure the ERP.

He’ll also make sure that the business’ security policies are respected and that the servers are well configured.

Final note

A single ERP consultant can do two or more of these jobs even though these jobs have been described separately. For example, you’ll often see a business analyst as the project manager.

As a final note, know that implementation and integration costs can go up quickly in that kind of project, so make sure you have someone independent that follows every step and keep all those people on a leash.

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