Some people believe that an independent Software Evaluation makes the decision-making process longer and adds unnecessary expense to a project. We believe an independent consulting team, who are totally dedicated to your success, will usually save you more money than they cost. Having someone who has the right experience on “your side” to help you navigate through pitfalls in the software evaluation process will give you the best chance of success and start your project off on the right footing.
We asked our clients why they decided to use an independent consulting company to help them.
Top 10 Reasons
Below are the Top 10 reasons why it will save you money and ultimately provide a better outcome for you and your business.
Experience and Expertise
Independent consultants do this every day! They have specific market knowledge and industry experience. They keep up to date with technology trends and know which vendors are viable and have solutions that may be appropriate for your circumstances. They will also be technically competent and appropriately qualified to do the job.
Truly independent consultants will be looking after your interests and will ensure that the process is transparent and agnostic and that any personal bias or political preference by one person or a group is carefully navigated and negotiated so that all business requirements are considered.
Independent consultants know the importance of executive engagement and key stakeholder management. Commitment to the initiative, funding and resources are paramount to success. The business sponsor must show enthusiasm so that positive communication and messages are cascaded from the senior management team to the business users.
Templates to Make it Easier
Independent consultants will be using proven methodologies and templates that provide a pragmatic framework and a quick start to defining your requirements and preparing your vendor documentation. Templates will ensure maximum buy in from business resources and a decision that is based on sound assessment rather than emotions.
Structured and proven project management disciplines will ensure your evaluation and subsequent implementation stays on time and on budget. Strong project management will keep the team focused on the business goals and outcomes for the new business system. The right consultant will maintain the momentum of the project and know the critical path of initiatives to ensure realistic milestones are in place and expectations are managed.
Independent consultants will ensure the relationship between the client and the vendor is respectful, realistic and based on a common desire to succeed. It is important to understand everyone’s roles in the project. It must be understood that the vendor is focused on revenue for their business while the customer often looks for ways to reduce costs. Being realistic, e.g. by allowing a reasonable contingency on the budget for the unforeseen things that always arise and working proactively together can achieve win-wins all round.
There is no perfect solution. Indeed, there are hundreds, if not thousands of options available in the market and this can be daunting and confusing for most businesses. Independent consultants often attend vendor presentations and do research to understand the technical strengths and weaknesses of the various systems. This experience will help ensure that candidate solutions being assessed will have the right foundation to be as future proof as possible.
Due diligence and governance throughout the process including the commercial and legal negotiations is absolutely critical. It is important to ensure that expectations between the client and the vendor are aligned, particularly around performance and responsibilities. A Software Evaluation usually involves a wide group of stakeholders, so any divergence or tension within the decision-making group will need to be assessed for risk, managed and mitigated accordingly.
There is a lot of truth in the words “a great project manager is typically one who is also a great change manager… you cannot be one without the other”. An experienced consultant understands the impact on organisational change that comes with implementation of any new business system. They know the challenges associated with business process change and how this may affect job roles. A consultant will help your staff with the transition and provide training to ensure your workforce is ready and supportive of the pending implementation.
An excellent consultant will be able to identify opportunities for mentoring internal resources who would like to be upskilled throughout the course of the implementation process. They can also act as a mediator and sounding board when differences of opinion arise throughout the course of the project.
“CMC worked with my organisation on an evaluation and selection of a new ERP, and then we worked on the implementation project together as well. There are a couple of key factors in making a project as successful as ours was, and I’d say specifically it was about really being clear on the scope of the project at the outset, and then frequent and open communication along the way to make sure we were meeting all of our milestones. CMC brought a huge amount of value to our organization. The project was timely, they respected our budgets and we had a very good alignment with core values just around accuracy, expediency, and mutual respect.
I have found that CMC’s methodology is unique. They have significant experience across this area for business, and I think their communication and management style sets them aside from any other supplier, or partner I have ever worked with”
Kate Stevenson, Ex Managing Director – Sapphire Group