Is Your ERP Consultant Earning Their Money?
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
The ERP industry is very good at milking clients and camping on their doorstep. There are a couple of key things you need to do to ensure you are getting value for money from any third party consultants, vendor connected or independent.
Do you have a specific plan with milestones attached to each consultant so you can check to see if he is actually working on the things he/she is supposed to be working on and is it productive to the project? Consultants will always give the air of being 110% busy as the name of their game is to book hours. The more hours a consultant can book against a client the more his company sees him/her as a successful consultant. The consultants will always be trying to find ways to expand their brief and will suggest you need modifications, additional modules, other consultants for education, training, readiness reviews and specialist re-engineering consultants. They are the ever watchful salesman for expanding their briefs!
This applies more to the vendor attached consultants and not really applicable to independent consultants who tend to get in and get out leaving behind a successful implementation and a good reputation and do not have a conflict of interest.
Software companies may have a few permanent employees on their books but it is quite common for them to advertise for people when they sell to a new client. These off-thestreet contractors do not necessarily have great skills but understand enough about the jargon to con the client into thinking they know what they are doing. Until it is too late!
Remember 70% of ERP implementations fail or do not perform to expectations and from a software vendor’s perspective turning the system on and running it is success, even though it does not perform or do what the client wants it to do.
Most ERP consultants/contractors are excellent in hindsight telling you what you did wrong to blow the time and budget and exonerate themselves from any responsibility. What they are incapable of recognising is a potential problem and preventing it from happening in the first place. A great thought to remember is your problems are their revenue source unless you have a tight contract with milestones they cannot slide out of.
Consultants are friendly, co-operative and can hide their lack of knowledge with jargon and spin leaving you to think they are on the ball and solving your problems.
The project consultants plan should detail exactly what they are working on, the number of hours to complete the task and the defined deliverable from the task. Consultants are quite willing to undertake tasks your own people can do as this clocks up the hours and keeps them looking extremely busy. Remember they are charging exorbitant rates far in excess of what you pay your people and often it is poor value for money.
The industry has a terrible reputation for camping on clients premises and chalking up gigantic bills. You can control this by planning their work and monitoring completion of tasks on time. If they have no tasks get them off-site and save the money.