Who are ERP Consultants? What is their role?
ERP consultants are professionals who specialize in developing techniques and methodologies for dealing with the implementation and the various problems that will crop up during the implementation. They are experts in the administration, management and control of these types of projects.
Each of them will have many man-years of implementation experience with various industries and have knowledge of time-tested methodologies and business practices that will ensure successful implementation. They will be good at all phases of the implementation life cycle right from package evaluation to end-user training.
Consultants provide a wide variety of functions often filling in the gaps. Some of the positions that consultants can fill include project manager, team leader, team member, service representative and end-user. A consultant’s success depends upon a number of factors including computer literacy, conceptual, skills, software knowledge, industry knowledge, maturity, problem-solving capability, communication skills and organizational skills.
The success of any particular consultant can vary tremendously from company to company and from situation to situation. Surprisingly, a consultant’s industry and software knowledge does not correlate strongly with his or her success or capability to help a company.
Many cases have been identified where consultants lacking in software and industry knowledge who were able to consistently out-perform other consultants considered the most knowledgeable in software and industry. These consultants showed strong interpersonal communication skills, were self-starters requiring little or no training, had good computer literacy, problem-solving capability and conceptual skills.
Many of the big consulting firms, having forecasted the ERP boom, invested a great deal of money in developing a range of consulting services in this field and assigned many of their professionals to become specialists in the various aspects of ERP packages and their implementation.
These firms researched various products, developed an in-depth understanding of each product’s strengths and weaknesses, worked by the side of the ERP vendors, confirmed that the vendor’s package worked and learned the tricks and techniques of the trade, found out the pitfalls and mistakes that should be avoided and thus created a pool of experts who could handle the ERP implementation without failure.