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The New Breed of ERP Experts
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

With the huge sums of money involved in the global ERP industry (est $60 billion) it is not surprising to find an army of ERP implementation and operational experts. There is no doubt some of these people are experienced practitioners who have either participated in or project managed an ERP project.

The majority of our work is after the project has gone wrong or management has read our materials and want to satisfy themselves that they have done all they can do to make their ERP project a success.

When we visit a company in the various stages of ERP implementation we are introduced to the project team and the external ERP vendor site staff. The reaction from the internal project team is one of highlighting their concerns over the direction or progress on the project and one of suspicion and defensiveness from the ERP vendors staff to any questions posed to them re the project and their background.

We more often than not find a young software savvy vendor consultant, calling themselves project managers, but with little or no industry experience beyond their software expertise. The client company defers to their advice due to their supposed expertise in implementing ERP systems.

In attempting to gauge the extent of the project management activities we find that the focus is on the technology, computer, training, configuration, some process and data conversion as this relates to their skill set. The real non-system issues of an ERP project are not even on their radar even though these non-system issues will impact success or failure of the project.

The reality is many consultants put into organisations do not have the breadth of experience to recognise when a project is running into trouble as they see ERP from a technology perspective.

Consultants working for the ERP vendor or their implementation partners are also facing a conflict of interest when problems arise that can potentially cast the ERP vendor or his implementation team in a bad light or worse still can affect their revenue stream from that client.

Companies should always vet the background of the vendor provided consultants to ensure they really do have the skills and experience to project manage an ERP system.