ERP Implementation

Four Keys to Choosing the Right ERP Implementation Partner

If your Public Sector organization has been considering implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning system and you want to be sure to choose the best implementation partner for that project, there are four key considerations you must weigh in order to make the right choice.

Before getting to what those three considerations are, think about this: When you release that RFP, be aware that this is going to mean slogging through hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of text and graphics sent to you by well-meaning companies who are seeking your business. It’s the price you pay to find that right partner. The problem is that, once you cut through all that copy, every single one of those companies will have sent you what is essentially the same message: We are the best; Choose us! Be aware that there are discernible differences between potential implementation partners- but it takes a discriminating eye to identify those differences. This is where our four considerations come into play.

When you’re faced with making an important decision and all your potential partners sound the same, keep these four keys top-of-mind as you move through the selection process:

  • First, understand who’s telling you the truth. By this, I don’t mean to imply that an ERP implementation firm would lie to you. What I mean is gauge the level of their sincerity. Does what they say go well with what they’ve written? Does their experience ring true? Are they as open about problems and issues as they are about successes and solutions? Do they tackle your toughest questions head-on, or do they deflect and talk around them? Do their recommended best practices sound like a laundry list, or knowledge gained through practical, and maybe painful, experience? Do their answers to your questions seem well-thought-out and considered? If your biggest issue makes you stop and think twice about it, it should have the same effect on the candidates. If the answer you get is always “No problem,” there’s a problem.
  • Second, measure their understanding of your pain points. Let’s face facts- if everything were going well, you wouldn’t be considering releasing an RFP and spending lots of money on a new ERP system and software. Given this, you must be brutally honest in what is causing you make this move. Then listen closely to how your candidates respond. Do they continue to talk about how terrific their systems and services are? Or do they get down into the dirt with you and show an in-depth understanding of where you are and what you’re wanting to accomplish? If so, do their solutions that seem workable, reasonable and- best of all- capable of relieving your pain points by solving your problems? Or will they add to your pain with an implementation that goes south? You’ll know if you ask yourself this question: Are they telling me what they think I’d like to hear, or are they telling me what I need to hear? The gap between those two ends of the pitch spectrum is wide. You don’t want to end up in the middle- or worse yet, at the wrong end.
  • If you are going to take the time to ask for references, then call those references. Yes, they may have glowing comments to make about that company- after all, they chose them for their project. That doesn’t mean you can’t have frank and open discussions with them. Ask them hard, probing questions about that candidate company. Ask what the best thing was about working with them- but remember to also ask what the worst thing was about that experience. Find out if they conducted themselves as if that customer was the most important client they’d ever had, or just another means to add to their revenue stream. Trust me- nine times out of ten, references have a story to tell, and they are waiting for someone to ask to hear it. Once you get references, ask the candidate firm if they have case studies. The good ones do.
  • After reading their response to the RFP, conducting an interview and sitting through a demonstration of their proposed solution, ask yourself this important question: Were you being sold, or were you being convinced? Many companies employ polished sales people who sail easily through interviews and demonstrations- but it’s that firm’s ability to do the actual work of implementing the solution according to a solid, sound project plan that really matters.

In a world where everyone touts their uniqueness, the reality is that no firm is unique. As a Public Sector organization, your ERP requirements are many. Once you pick what you believe to be the right solution, you must be sure to select an implementation partner that’s been down the ERP project road before- preferably more than once. Of course, here at Phoenix, we believe that we are the Public Sector’s best choice for an implementation of a SAP ERP solution, and here’s why.

To find out more about Phoenix experience expertise and SAP ERP solutions, call us at 310.779.9132 or send an email to We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and share our client case studies with you. Since 1998, we’ve provided high quality and successful SAP Public Sector ERP implementations and support services for over 70 clients. If you are a State, City, or County government, a Non-profit, an education institution, or a utility or transportation agency, we are here to help. Providing SAP Public Sector solutions is our singular focus, and has been for 20 years.

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