Epicor Implementation: Consultant Vs. Direct
Epicor Implementation: Are you a small fish in a big pond? Perhaps you’d prefer to be a big fish in a small pond?
Your business is always in need of a competitive edge. Your ERP is a part of that edge, and it requires expert attention to operate at full efficiency. The question is, where do you go for expert attention. Do you go straight to the publisher, or do approach Epicor implementation with a certified consultant?
Mid-sized businesses everywhere are in need of mission critical software. It is vital in understanding the challenges you face now and in the future, before you begin to tackle them. Upgrading or re-implementing an ERP is too ambiguous and costly for clients to be treated like another number. For mid-sized businesses, the single most valuable resource assisting their evolution is a skillful implementation partner. Can a large software provider scale their practices enough to provide the mid-sized business with everything they need?
Benefits of Consultant over Direct
Partnering with a consulting firm empowers the client to be candid with their current business model and share expectations of its future one. A partner is more agile and flexible to bend to a client’s needs, and can offer careful insight to risks and challenges that may otherwise go unnoticed. Clients may use the software developer for their Epicor implementation; and, yes, it may get the headache over quickly, but is a speedy implementation the only goal? Partners put experts on-site manning the project—from start to finish and beyond—with each and every deliverable in mind. A partner provides a disciplined on-site team of software experts to deliver their client’s project on time and on budget with a completely customized solution. Not to say the publisher doesn’t have it’s own experts; however, the careful thought, planning, and consideration of a partner is often what ultimately pushes many to implement with a partner instead.
Downside of Implementing Direct
If an out-of-the-box standard Epicor implementation is perceived to be what is needed, using direct implementation may be the most affordable route. However, going the direct route is the definition of a “one-size-fits-all” approach; this can lead to major issues in the long run. Relying on a quick out-of-the-box solution is rarely most effective for your business. If your business is implementing to improve business practices to begin with, it makes sense that careful thought would be added to the selected solution.
Do things right the first time around. With large vendors, clients risk the probability of rendering a snapshot of current processes; which may or may not be the primary ill of your business. A software and business solutions partner will not stuff a client into the “we have a solution for everybody” category; the process is much more compelling than that because the client’s business is usually more compelling than that.
Using a software vendor titan may result in some unforeseeable costs going forward. Your new system may require creative custom solutions that the publisher absolutely attaches maintenance costs to. Partner experts only create creative custom solutions straight from user catalogs. That is what’s typically most exciting and cost-effective by using an expert partner versus a large software developer.
What to Consider
How deep do you want to go? A software solutions partner focuses on scouring the waters to address all nuances plaguing the organization. The direct route often won’t go this deep. The choice ultimately depends on your needs. An expert partner empowers users to describe their current operations, needs and wants; resulting in a custom software solution deployment based on mentions of that user’s experience. The process naturally incumbents senior managers to step aboard. An expert partner works as the direct line to top-management; as opposed to a publisher’s remote team cyphering through a chain of 14+ executives.
Is who you work with important to you? A remote team may visit a client several times throughout the life of the project. More times than not, the large vendor will send various software experts to your site. This is how the continuity—continuous flow—of information is lost or becomes bias. A client’s expectations from their service provider are now lost in translation because a single relationship and flow of information is sparse. Certain senior managers may cut ties with the software project and move on—candidly—with divisional operations as a result of a possible severed relationship.
How complex are your business processes? To ensure each stakeholder has their say in the matter, an expert partner should design use-case catalogs to capture business and project functionality. This is key component for successful Epicor implementation. Each piece can be tracked and tested throughout the life of the project. A catalog ensures every piece of functionality is discussed with the partner—upgraded or new—WORKS. This is forefront of what a good expert partner should do–period. Large vendors’ focus strictly on developing and maintaining software; not continuous improvement. A catalog serves as the nerve center of the project. It logs use cases, define the key roles, trainees, documentation, testing and more. Furthermore, this document is how an expert partner will define, estimate, track, customize, and contain the project’s scope.
Key Differentiators: “Expert” Consultant vs. Direct Publisher Implementation
User management and continuous improvement are not critical paths of Epicor’s implementation process. Here’s why: A software developers’ core competency is to develop client software and remotely maintain it. This is exactly what you want from the organization designing your ERP solution; however that doesn’t necessarily translate to the best option for implementation all of the time. An expert partner should not only be certified to implement software, but have years of focus testing the expected and discovering the unexpected. Mini-pilots test (and re-test) individual use-cases—the processes, actors, data and technology—until they are ready to be integrated into the full system.
Expert partners know the two most crucial adoptions of your new ERP is executive sponsorship and end-user training. What does that mean to the client? Speaking frankly, saving money. Large ERP vendors may not have the hands to deploy a user-training initiative. And if you’re a new or returning client, what does that cost you?
A partner knows the added value of deploying a training initiative. Going back to the use-cases catalog, training allows users to participate and contribute to a key component of software adoption—discovering phantom processes and exception cases. Partners encourage a hands-on, repetitive participation training initiative. This level of practice and contribution means on day one-go live is a non-event for each user.
Implementing directly with a publisher may result in some unforeseeable costs going forward even though it may appear more affordable at first glance. Your new system may require creative custom solutions that the software vendor attaches additional maintenance costs to. Many partner experts only create creative custom solutions straight from user catalogs. That is what’s most exciting and cost-effective by using a expert partner versus a large software developer.
What We Feel We Do Well
At Datix, these expert Epicor Implementation practices are ingrained in our DNA. We’ve evolved dozens of businesses across a variety of industries. What makes our firm more effective? It’s our ability to understand and grow businesses from the inside out; starting with the software that supports everyday practices. Partnering with Datix gives clients unbiased information in their selection of an affordable, best practices solution to meet their business goals. Our dedicated resources provide continuity and retained knowledge of your company’s issues, needs, and difficulties.
Are you a company seeking to upgrade or re-implement Epicor ERP? Do you know your options, or what it will cost?
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