Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and the Benefits of a Service Provider

By Joel Patterson
erp

Updating your business’s software systems is a huge undertaking, but it can feel relatively seamless with the right people on your side. In my decades as an ERP service provider, I’ve supported many teams through some of the more challenging aspects of implementing a truly great ERP system. Today I’m going to discuss this process and the benefits of partnering with a service provider. 

The Planning Stage. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a great plan. That is, if you want to get to your destination! At my firm, all projects begin with “Phase Zero.” During this phase, we meet with the client to discuss their current processes and what they’d like to prioritize in their new system. Then we create a model for their implementation. 

Both the service provider and the client bring immense value to the planning phase. Clients know the company and give insight into what’s working and what’s not. The provider has (hopefully) worked with similar clients before and can advise from experience. Together, these two teams can create the ideal system. 

Implementation. Bringing in a whole new ERP system is a big undertaking involving a lot of change. A service provider can be the difference between this part of the process being unbearable or merely a necessary growing pain. Notice I didn’t say a provider could make this journey a breeze, but they will definitely guide you every step of the way. 

Before an implementation, a provider should work with you and your staff to get you acclimated to the new system. The more training provided on the front end, the more seamlessly your staff will be able to adjust after go-live. A service provider can also ensure the smoothest transition possible (less downtime, more technical and emotional support, etc.). 

After Go-Live. Once a new ERP system is in place, companies often go through a short period that I refer to as “The Valley of Despair.” This is a transitional period of adjustment, and during this time, it might feel like your new ERP isn’t living up to your vision. It’s in these moments that having a team of experts to support you is incredibly valuable. Remember, a provider has gone through this “valley” with other businesses before, and they know what to do to ease your fears and resolve issues as they arise. 

After you’ve gotten through the initial “valley,” your day-to-day will run more smoothly, but it’s still vital to have an experienced team to turn to when you have questions or run into roadblocks. I recommend choosing a provider that offers support for their clients long after go-live. A service like this means that your provider stands by the work they do even years after your initial go-live date.

Implementing a new ERP system is not a DIY project worth undertaking. With a provider on your side, you will come out of your implementation with a tailored system, a trained staff, and a partner to turn to in the future.