Enterprise Software

Is it the software or the software provider that makes the difference?

Customers scrutinize ERP products to make sure that they meet requirements, but they don't seem to use the same scrutiny when looking for the right partner to implement the system.

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 ...


If the software is crap, but the support is good, you'll spend quality time on the phone with good people and get nothing done. If the software is top notch, people rarely call support. The truth is that balance is needed. No matter how good the software, users will figure out new and interesting ways to break it. You need a good support staff with a can-do culture to back up well written, well documented, and well supported code.


using worn and older tools may take longer, and may not be as elegant or quite as polished an outcome... but the newest tool in the hands of a novice will still come out uglier than an old tool in the hands of a master. There are enough free, quality bits of ERP software that the worst ERP software is ok (generally speaking). As a result the people assembling the pieces are going to have more variability in their capabilities and skill, than the software options will have in their quality.

eclypse like.author.displayName 1 Like

The software needs to be good enough to meet your requirements, you need people who can actually implement that, but your organization also has to know what it wants and then the people of that organization actually have to do what it takes to make that happen. One thing I got first hand experience with was people saying, "hey we want 'X'!!!" Then you tell them what they have to do to have 'X' and then they don't want it so bad. "That's too hard to do!!" The problem gets even more exciting when someone else's 'Y' is dependent on 'X' being done. Now, if you add the ever-faithful, "We've always done it this way!!! Why do we have to change to this crap?!?", some lack of support and buy-in from the top execs, then the best implementation team and software won't help in that situation.

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