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ERP and Value-added Resellers: Spending Your Consulting Dollars Wisely

By Joseph Timmins

Most businesses find choosing, learning, implementing, and supporting an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to be daunting. Luckily, you can – and should – hire a value-added reseller (VAR) organization to help. Check this link out if the term “VAR” is unfamiliar.

Selecting the right ERP is important but contributes only 50% (maybe less) of the project’s success – the other 50% (maybe more) is all about having the right team. And, because companies rarely have built-in ERP expertise, your team should include a VAR.

Where do you start?

An ERP will integrate your core business applications, including:

  • Finance and accounting
  • Sales and service
  • Customer service and sales order processing
  • Inventory, production, and purchasing

And many, many more.

Start with this: a consulting group with process and business expertise and experience to implement your ERP solution using industry best practices. 

But that’s not all. Experienced VARs should also:

Have a proven history of successful implementationsERP - Enterprise Resource Planning - Jigsaw Puzzle with Missing Pieces. Bright Green Background. Close-up. 3d Illustration.

Don’t be afraid to ask for references.  Make sure it’s not their first rodeo. Ask for customer testimonials and case studies; learn as much as you can about the VAR’s reputation. This will minimize risk and save time and money. Also, get a solid tailored demo of the solution so you can conceptually connect the dots between the software and how it will fit in your business. The best VARs provide the best demos. 

Mix of talent

ERP consultants from your VAR should have diverse skills, including, technical, business, project management, and certified product expertise. Their real job is transitioning their knowledge to your organization to run the new ERP effectively. Therefore, they are commonly called consultants. The best are certified professionals who know how to get you from A to B. 

Customize deployment, not software

Your business is unique in the products you sell, your employees, and your customers. Sure, many processes (like accounting) are similar across your industry. But your VAR should adapt an implementation approach that makes sense for you. When you evaluate a package and VAR, make sure they acknowledge your uniqueness – but don’t propose heavily modified software or multiple add-ons.

Offer comprehensive support

VARs must be available through every step of the implementation – and then some. Choose a VAR that doesn’t leave after go-live; they should provide on-going support, maintenance, and upgrades to maximize your technology investment. Your system deployment is guaranteed to need tweaks, such as additional users, new reports, and added functions that will benefit your business.

An experienced VAR will also seek opportunities for cost and efficiency improvements and teach you how to use your ERP system as a tool for staying ahead of your competitors.

In defense of VARs

The best software and IT companies embrace VARs and what is called a “channel” for product distribution. This includes SAP, the top ERP company in the world. SAP recognizes that VARs are the most effective way of selling and supporting solutions like SAP Business One; they have thousands of them. You’ll realize an established VAR has seasoned employees, low turnover, and a cost-effective model to support your business.

The critical question is: “Can this organization execute the project to meet your needs, budget, and timeline?” An experienced VAR can and will ensure your ERP project fits neatly into your unique business processes.

As you’re making your decision, remember the Acuity team is here to support your next implementation. Our satisfied customers are happy to serve as references, along with many years of experience and proven results. Click the contact us button below to discuss your project today!

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Topics: ERP

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