Benefits of a partnership approach when implementing an ERP system
One of the questions I’m often asked by clients is: “How long will it take to implement a project and when can we ‘go live’?” It’s a reasonable question, because timescales are important, particularly when you’re starting something new.
However, before we can answer that question, potential clients need to consider one from us: “How do you want to work with us? Are we going to be a supplier or our partner?”
The Difference Between a Supplier and a Partner
- A supplier will do what you say and will leave you in charge – you decide how much effort you’ll put in
- A partner will listen to what you want and work out the best way of delivering that and drive you to make the results happen
Implementing solutions is not a one-sided task. Both the project team and the users need to invest time and effort into making results happen for them and the business. For instance, although an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system https://cbiz.co.uk/software/microsoft-dynamics-nav/what-is-erp/ can streamline business processes, replacing it is hard, which is why people don’t often do it.
An Example to Help you Understand the Difference
Imagine you want to get fit. You consider a couple of options – a gym membership only (supplier) or working with a personal trainer (partner). Some people choose a gym they like the look of, get a feel for the equipment and away they go – hitting their fitness goals on their own.
Most of us, though, don’t keep up the initial momentum, and making the effort to go is no longer a priority. We know there are benefits, but making a big lifestyle change and being consistent is hard. We may even think it’s something to do with the gym, rather than with us.
I think it’s the same for businesses looking to ‘Get Fit’ with business process management, business productivity and ERP software.
How This Applies to Software
In much the same way as people choose the gym that looks nice, they see a great demo of a piece of software, realise the benefits straight away, buy it and implement it in their business.
Again, reality gets in the way – they get busy, orders need to be fulfilled, figures need to be met and so on. Start dates for new projects are constantly pushed back, because change is a struggle – no matter how clear the benefits. We then think the fault is in the software…maybe if we selected a better one…?
Why you Need a Partner Instead
At the gym, you’ll have a completely different experience with a personal trainer. Sure, it costs more, but you know you’re going to get results from them. Why? Because they take the time to really understand your current situation and where you want to be. They apply their expertise to select the right equipment, assess your current abilities and work out how often you should train to help you achieve the fitness levels and shape you want.
They hold you to account when you don’t attend, they remind you of how important it is for you to meet your fitness goals, and adjust the plan to suit your changing circumstances.
Although it takes a while to get started and it feels like you’re paying extra for what you can do yourself, it means your goals are supported and realised. It’s better value, because you can be confident about training on your own. You have an intrinsic motivation to continue and appreciate the value the trainer delivered.
Likewise, working with a business partner to implement new software means you have someone on hand who understands the needs and motivations of you, your business and your team.
Working with us at CBIZ, you’re supported when you decide where you want the business to be. Let us drive the project to realise that vision, by working with you to use the software in the right way, to get the most from it and reach your goals.
So, “How long does it take?” If you choose a supplier the project may never happen, but if you work with a partner they’ll give you an answer based on their understanding of where you are now and where you want to be.
A good partner can help you meet your expectations and theirs, by sharing their experience and examples of how they’ve supported previous clients. These expectations should be mutually agreed at the start of the relationship, so you’re both clear on your responsibilities.
Would the personal trainer approach be right for you? Call our team to discuss how CBIZ can help your business get fitter https://cbiz.co.uk/about-cbiz-2/