A paintbrush is just that, a paintbrush. But in the right hands, it can wield art that is priceless.
So goes the way of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. They are a tool (albeit a very expensive, sophisticated one) like any other tool, but in the hands of a skilled craftsman, tremendous positive impact on an organization can be achieved.
Why is this an important point? Because time and time again, I see prospective customers looking into the depths of an ERP system demo for a capability to meet a "requirement," but don't use the same scrutiny when looking for the partner to implement and support the system. A reference check may be completed, but a serious discussion around ideas to IMPROVE their business does not take place.
An ERP implementation team can be likened to a group of painters with brushes. They can all paint, but those with significant experience in a particular industry can leverage far more expertise wielding the same tool as another.
So my advice is this: stop paying so much attention to the system being implemented and start paying more attention to the partner being chosen. Talk to them about real-life experiences and how they have driven significant improvements in organizations similar to yours. How have they used the capabilities in the system that they're selling to dramatically change a business? What do their clients say about delivering business benefit?
After all, you may have to upgrade or purchase a new paintbrush, but switching implementation partners can be far more painful.
Andrew King is a Senior Partner with WebSan Solutions Inc. WebSan Solutions Inc. is a Toronto based Microsoft Dynamics Certified Partner with a focus on achieving significant business benefit for Professional Services, Manufacturing and Distribution companies.