Why bother hiring a consultant? After all, no one really knows your business better than you and your colleagues. It's not like a (successful) consultant can just come in and analyze your scene, give you an Executive Summary and have it be very meaningful. Why you really hire a consultant is to bring more understanding to a specialized area. And truly THE only way they can help you is through communication.... and that IS the Magic of Consulting. The first step to knowing if you are hiring the right firm is to know if you enjoy talking to them. And what better way to get to know your future consultant than during the sales process. I advise taking advantage of the free time you can get with the consultant before you start any project, whether it is a technical scoping call, meeting the consulting team or even reviewing the proposal. There is a lot of understanding that develops at each level.
Personally, I enjoy telling prospects what we do, which is a bit odd because consulting on ERP software is pretty nebulous stuff! (You should see us explaining it to our kids. All they know is "dad is always on calls".) But I have been on the inside of the projects and have really seen the "magic" develop during the Needs Analysis and Selection, every time. The beginning of most projects starts with a confusing scene with lots of disparate systems and conglomerations of spreadsheets. There is no solution that seems obvious. But as we take our clients through our methodology, the answers pop through and it does almost seem a bit like magic that there is any answer at all to their woes.
One thing that ERP Advisors Group helps companies achieve through consulting is to take the time out of the software selection process. We help our clients come to a definite decision to buy or not buy new software which many teams cannot definitively decide on their own. But we also take the emotion out of it too. There can be some personality conflicts that a project sponsor is trying to overcome by using an outside consultant who has a more exterior viewpoint. Once again, just having a consultant enter the scene isn't going to create a success. But having a consultant who can get into good communication with ALL parties involved in the purchase and decision can get a lot more agreement going among users who may have various agendas, requirements and opinions.
ERP software can quickly escalate in price and so can the implementations. Many of our clients hire a firm like us to make sure they are spending the company's money wisely to buy something that will work right the first time. But many steps come before you can select the right software. Interestingly, in certain cases, we could even tell a firm the winner before we start the project. In those cases, we can expedite the process, but we still take the company through the process because the "magic" isn't knowing the right answer; rather, it is taking the participants through the process so they see for themselves what the right answer is, too.
The fact that we work with vendors and implementation partners from all types of software, industries and parts of the country does in fact speed up our work to a point where no individual tasked with a software selection who has a day job could possibly compete with the timing we can deliver. We have relevant current research on the most prevalent applications in hand today. I could even email you the short list of vendors and implementation partners we used for your industry last month! But it would be almost meaningless to you and it would be a disservice. You don't hire a consultant to "give you the answer to the final exam". Rather you ultimately hire a consultant for the communication, duplication and understanding about your needs and difficulties, your hopes and desires and your dreams to improve your company and your job. That is what REALLY occurs during one of our projects. This is the "Magic of Consulting" which translates through to successful ERP projects for each one of our clients. By Erica Windle