Expert Interview Series: Quentin DeWitt, EAG Consultant

QuentinMeet Quentin

My name is Quentin DeWitt. I'm the consulting manager here at ERP Advisors Group. I work with all the consultants to go through the day to day activities with our clients. I also work directly with our clients. And what that means is, we are advisory consultants and we work with our clients for needs analysis, software selection, and implementation projects as we're very experienced in the industry. We go through this on a day-by-day basis and we can really help them understand what to do, how to do it, and where they're going so that they can arrive there successfully.

 

What is your favorite part of working with ERP Advisors Group?

My favorite part of working with ERP Advisors Group is the diversity that we run into in a technology industry. A lot of times it can get pretty monotonous, it can be just a lot of technical details and software and servers and so forth. And I like working with all of our different clients as they're very diverse and they do a lot of different things and it's very pleasant to have that ever-changing environment.

What do your clients appreciate most about your work?

Our clients really appreciate what we do the most in that we are extremely experienced and we guide them through the process without any prejudice towards any software vendors. We're not trying to sell them software. We really are on their side and we're helping them to accomplish their goals as opposed to our own agenda.

Why is being objective in your line of work important?

Being objective in our line of work is very important because a lot of times consultants can come in with a prearranged agenda. They will come in and try to sell a particular vendor or software product to the client whether that's what they need or not. So when you take a step back and you really look at what the client needs, what their specific organization structure requires and you're on their side, it really helps them understand and have confidence in what you're going to do and what you're going to provide, and being successful at the end.

What makes public safety/fire department clients unique?

Well, our public safety and fire department clients are very unique in a multitude of ways. Their software requirements and their needs are to save lives. Some of the software that they're using is to go out there do their jobs and save lives, protect the public from different accidents or fires and so forth. And what makes them unique is there's a whole industry of software that caters to that area. And unless you know the ins and outs of all the details of how that should progress, the different parts and pieces of those software products, and what is important and what isn't, most consultants are not going to really have the right answers.

At what point in the selection process should a customer start planning for implementation?

A customer should really start planning for implementation once they know that they're going to replace their software. That is on a very basic level. A high level of going, "OK where are we looking at as far as when we need the software to be in place by?" A lot of times you'll start looking at that only once you've picked out a software product. But that's not really the right time to start. You really want to start the planning as early as possible so that you can get to your successful implementation and go live by the time you need.

What are the potential stumbling blocks during implementation? How can those be avoided?

Stumbling blocks during an implementation are very common and if you're not familiar with the process they'll come up regularly. Some of the major stumbling blocks are not dealing with data migration concerns early enough in the project. Another one is software integrations between different application platforms can really be a hang up if you're not aware of the need for those integrations and how the different products involved connect. A third one is really your change management planning. Any time you're replacing a software product it can be grueling and difficult and if you don't plan for the changes that are going to occur and how they're going to impact your organization it can be the failure of the entire implementation project.

What’s the number one piece of advice you would offer a customer who is about to choose a new ERP solution?

The number one piece of advice that I would offer to a client when they are about to change ERP system is don't do it if you don't have to. I know Shawn Windle our principal here often says that and that is a very true piece of information. In making a decision to change and ERP platform, you are making a big change and if you don't have to do that, absolutely have to, it is much better to not do so. That being said, if you are going to change, do it right. Do a needs analysis, find out exactly what's really needed by the organization. Don't just look for a software product that you think fits, go through the whole process. Identify those needs, identify what's going on in the organization and how to fill them, and then move onto a selection process that goes through all the details needed to successfully get to the right vendor to meet those requirements in need. And then your implementation phase comes.

Where do you feel ERP Advisors Group provides the most value for a client?

An area where ERP Advisors Group really provides a lot of value in is identifying that there's more to the picture than what you may originally have looked at. A lot of times a client will come and say, "Hey we need a new manufacturing application to track our manufacturing and how that process goes." But they're not really looking at the rest of the organization and that's a pitfall. You really need to look at all the areas of the organization to understand exactly what the needs are, what the problems are, how those applications are working with the other areas in order to really identify the right product and the right needs to go with that product and make sure those requirements are met. One of the things that I find our clients regularly doing is coming and going, "We need a CRM application or customer relationship management application." And they don't realize that a lot of what's going on and the problems they are experiencing with their applications are on the manufacturing side or after sales hands it off to the next department. And so when we go in and we help a client identify those needs, we aren't just looking at a single area we're looking at the entire organization and all of their needs. That is one thing I would highly recommend doing whenever you're looking at a software replacement: don't have a narrow scope, have a broader scope to really understand the requirements.

What Makes ERP Advisors Group truly different?

You know Shawn and Erica are amazing. They have really brought a service to this area and the environment here in the Denver area as well as nationwide that isn't the normal service. A lot of consulting services are really geared towards having a huge project that has hundreds of hours and the difference is we focus on exactly what's needed. We find out what's needed and we provide that which is a huge differentiator in the market of consulting. So that's one of the things I think ERP Advisors brings to the table is just that difference and feel and how we're really client advocates and we're helping the client versus just wanting to book a large job to have a number of consultants working for hundreds of hours. So we keep them very concise, to the point and accomplished quickly.

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