That one question your ERP consultant keeps asking

An ERP system should grow together with your organization. Your business is constantly evolving, technological developments follow each other faster and faster, your customers’ expectations change over time, laws and regulations are changing. In short; your requirements and wishes regarding the ERP system change over time. The ERP consultant or business consultant can help you with this. That does not mean simply developing anything you ask for. With every suggestion to change something, there is one important question that needs to be asked:

"What is the Return on Investment?"

Whether its a change in the software, a process change, the deployment of additional solutions and modules or upgrading to a new version of the system: A thorough calculation of the expected Return on Investment is decisive.

Changes to the software

If you want to proceed a change in the software functionality, a good ERP consultant will not just accept this. Why do you want to proceed the change? Because your previous system worked like that? Because it will save you a mouse click? Because it will make that single exceptional process go one minute faster? These are not legitimate reasons. A good ERP consultant will keep asking until he or she knows what profit the change will bring and to what extent this outweighs the costs. In case of a customer-specific customization, it is wise to think about the consequences extra well before implementing it.

Changes in the business processes

Your ERP consultant is primarily a business consultant. He or she knows the challenges in your industry and what the best practices are. This optimal way of working is facilitated by the ERP system. So if you want to propose a change in the business processes, you will have to come up with a good story to make the ERP consultant agree with you. Why don’t you stick to the best practices? Your situation might be unique, which will justify a process change, but once again the truth lies in ROI.

Deployment of additional solutions or modules

If you want to expand the functionalities of your system or deploy additional systems/solutions, again the question arises: What is the Return on Investment? A bad ERP consultant will try to sell as many modules and solutions as possible to you and bill you as many hours as possible. A good ERP consultant looks critically at the costs of an investment and the expected returns; in other words, what is best for your organization.

Upgrade to a new version

The transition to a new version of an ERP system is often a big step. And unfortunately, in many cases the motives of organizations to come to this decision are questionnable. 'New is better', 'We have remaining budget', 'Our competitor did an upgrade too’. Just a selection of the wrong motivations for an upgrade. How difficult it may be; also with this decision you will have to compare the expected costs against the expected revenues. Especially the expected returns are often difficult to estimate. The benefits can consist of e.g. time saving, extra possibilities, improved customer service or improved availability of information which allows for improved decision-making. Try to quantify the costs and revenues and then determine whether you are really going to make the right decision. Your ERP consultant can help you with this.

Luuk Busschers is Consultant at Dysel and helps customers to achieve their goals by using industry-specific ERP software.