How to save — without going cheap — on an ERP implementation

It’s natural to want to get the best deal, but the best deal on an ERP implementation might not always be the one with the cheapest price tag. You can actually save money on your ERP implementation by spending more with the right partner from the beginning. Here are tips to avoid going (too) cheap on your ERP implementation:

Start Right

We’ve seen some prospective customers try to save money by rushing the requirements phase. This rarely ends well. Laying the groundwork is key to a good ERP implementation. Make sure you know exactly what you need and why. Thoroughly document your processes. Do the research on available ERP solutions and partners and ask questions. Being too vague at this stage will only lead to costly changes later. The more you know and the better you plan, the less you will have to deal with cost overruns due to out-of-scope requirements.

Documentation Matters

Mounds of paperwork don’t appeal to anyone, but completely skipping documentation is not an option. You can have all the right conversations upfront, but unless the entire team has an eidetic memory — or good documentation from those meetings — it won’t make a difference.

Check out our blog on 4 Must-Have Documents for ERP Projects. At minimum you should document your requirements and existing processes so that your implementation partner can more accurately provide what you need. A consultant who fully understands your requirements can better suggest tweaks to either the software or processes that will improve the overall efficiency of your ERP system.

Documenting along the way can save you stress and money in the future. This is especially true in the case of any turnover at the company. If a key person leaves halfway through an implementation, well-done documentation can help keep your project on track. It can prevent backtracking or costly changes midway, and it can get your new employee up to speed much faster.

Cloud ERP is Not DIY

We’ve seen companies attempt to implement a new ERP system on their own, especially in the case of Microsoft’s subscription-based cloud solution. More often than not, even the most skilled accountants eventually seek out an ERP partner to help get the job done. The complexities of even a basic implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central typically require the skillset of a consulting team experienced in software implementations.

Starting on your own or with an inept partner can cost more than paying the right partner from the start. This doesn’t exclude you from drawing on the skills of your own team. Be upfront with what your team can do, and an experienced partner can reduce the implementation quote accordingly and provide the correct amount of assistance along the way.

Experience Counts

When you’re looking to choose an ERP partner, keep in mind that price is not the only factor. In fact, a firm that quotes a slightly higher fee and a longer timeframe might actually cost less in the long run. This signifies that they’re taking the time to do your implementation right and ensure your company gets the attention you need.

Don’t settle for inexperience just because it’s cheaper and be leery of a company that claims a faster implementation. They might be short-changing you on key steps that will cost you more later.

When to Invest in a PM

Some vendors might tack on project management as an added “optional” fee while others include it in your overall project cost. In either case, project management should not be shrugged off as a luxury. Lack of project management is one of the Common Reasons ERP Projects Fail.

If your operations are simple and your implementation straightforward, you might be able to get away with minimal project management — but you’ll still need some. If your project is complex and needs to be done in multiple phases, you definitely will benefit from a vendor with a dedicated project manager.

It’s not too late!

If you’re in the middle of a bad ERP implementation that’s costing you more money every day, it might be time to rethink your strategy and switch to a partner that can get you back on track. Our skilled consultants have experience rescuing failed ERP projects. Check out our case study on Zing Health.

Whether you need assistance with a project in the works or are looking for the right partner for a new implementation of Dynamics 365 Business Central, we have the experience you need. Contact 763-412-4300 or to request a consultation.