.... Innovative IT Consulting helps small and mid-size companies use technology to facilitate growth and increase profitability. We are specialists in the Process Industries.
May, 2007

In the April issue of Innovative Thinking, we talked about Big Bang vs. Phased Implementation, both sound approaches to ERP implementation, depending upon your situation. This month, we continue our ERP Done Right series - with a discussion of how to engage with vendors for successful results. Put your ERP Done Right articles together and you'll have a cookbook for great ERP results. Don't miss a single issue!

Engaging with vendors for a successful ERP implementation. By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

It's all part of the process. In past columns we have talked about the role of the RFI vs. the RFP in the ERP software selection process. Our preference for the RFI is part of the larger issue of how to best interact with software vendors and implementation consultants. We call this “engaging with vendors”.

Find a partner, not a vendor. Vendors are not adversaries. Many ERP selection processes are led by executives who have been schooled to treat vendors as adversaries, and to keep them at arms length, set a distant tone from the first introductory meeting. They feel that they are negotiating from the beginning and are wary of letting their guard down. However, this kind of relationship gets in the way of a successful software selection.

Soft factors frequently drive selections. In today’s market, many ERP systems have excellent functionality. In fact, if your requirements are properly laid out, then the functionality of all the finalists in your software selection process will not be dramatically different. This means that other, vendor related factors, will likely determine which software you choose and how it gets implemented.

What are these factors? Presence in your industry or vertical, references, responsiveness, attentiveness to your needs and ability to understand your specific requirements, implementation approach, total cost of ownership, and most important your overall comfort level with the vendor, and the implementation staff.

Addressing all these factors will require an investment of a lot of time from the vendors as well as you and your staff. The only way to make sure that vendors invest this time is to engage with them, to spend some time with them. Relationships aren’t built in a day or two, or a week or two, or a meeting or two.

Take time to build a relationship. Take time to build a relationship. Done properly the RFI process causes you to have many interactions with the software vendors – discovery sessions to review your requirements, technical review sessions, executive overview sessions, demos, implementation scoping sessions. If you participate in all these activities, then by the time you are ready to make your final selection you have had the opportunity to meet the vendor and their team at least four or five times. Are they on time for meetings? Are they prepared? Do they show an increasing understanding of your business and your processes?

Make a value-based decision. This is a consultative business. Selecting software and implementation consulting services is not a cost driven exercise. It’s about value and risk mitigation. Go ahead, engage with the vendors and give them the opportunity to show you what they’re all about. We guarantee that the shining stars will emerge.

Tip of the Month

Don’t say “nay” to the “nay-sayer”.
By John Pellegrino,Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

We all know that there is great value in selecting members with diverse skills and personality traits when putting together your team. It is important that the people on the team complement each other so that all aspects of a project are adequately covered.

Turning the half empty glass upside down. However, one type of person is frequently overlooked when assembling the team. It’s the person that is always looking at the negative side of things. After all, none of us want to have to deal with someone that consistently disagrees with what seems like a good thing. You know the type – the glass is always half empty

Not so fast! But wait, don’t jump to the wrong conclusion! The “nay-sayer” can offer great value when their attitude is correctly used. There are at least 2 reasons why this is a good idea. First, it is useful to have one person that questions all decisions. It helps the team discuss any and all critical points of view in earnest so that they make the most informed decision. Second, if you can convince the “nay-sayer” that a decision is correct it means that the team can be very confident of this decision. After all, these types of people are hard to convince.

One final word of caution. Make sure the negative person does not become a drain on the productivity of the team. Everyone on the project team has a role in making sure that this doesn’t happen, and if you can succeed at this, they can be a valuable asset to the team and the project.

What's new?.

Welcome to Empire Bakery Equipment, our newest client. Innovative will be reviewing Empire's software application environment to help Empire optimize its effectiveness. Empire is a leading importer and valud-added distributor of bakery equipment and supplies. Visit them at their web site

Word Scramble time.
“Consideration and strategies that help you minimize the chance of project failure." (2 words)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramble.

“An implementation approach that involves going live on different functions over a period of time." (2 words) (PHASED IMPLEMENTATION)

A Look Ahead To Next Month

In June we'll continue ERP Done Right when we discuss conducting due diligence diligently (and to develop a comfort level.

We want your feedback. Contact us

Innovative IT Consulting, LLC
(631) 549-1685