ERP Projects: In-House v. Consultant
By Johnny Nugent
When companies decide to select and implement a new ERP system the first decision, they are often faced with is to keep the implementation in-house or to hire an independent consultant. This post will break down some of the pros and cons of both options.
An in-house ERP implementation means that the search and implementation process is led by an internal resource.
Pros of In-House
- Can Be Affordable. Since an in-house resource is already on the company’s payroll, businesses may save some money by going this route versus hiring an outside consultant.
- Knowledge of Key Players. An in-house resource also has the advantage of knowing the ins and outs of the company and ideally already has the respect of the employees, which could help with employees “buying into” the ERP project.
Cons of In-House
- Not Enough Resources. Although using an in-house resource may be cheaper than a consultant, you must evaluate whether the in-house resource really has enough bandwidth to commit to the project.
- Narrow Perspective. An internal resource may be too close to the project to approach the project with a fresh, broad perspective. A broad perspective is important to an ERP project to ensure you are implementing best practices versus continuing to do things the way they have always been done.
Some companies may elect to hire an outside, independent consultant to lead an ERP vendor search and implementation project.
Pros of a Consultant
- Experience. ERP consultants have many years of ERP implementation experience to learn from. They will be able to seamlessly walk your organization through the steps of a successful ERP project and spot pitfalls before they happen along the way.
- Expertise. Along with the years of experience, comes the expertise piece. ERP consultants can quickly assess business processes and determine where inefficiencies lie and ensure you get the best ROI.
Cons of a Consultant
- Biased. Although most ERP consultants advertise themselves as ‘independent’, many can have biases towards or against certain ERP vendors from many years of working in the field. When working with a consultant be sure to understand if the consultant favors a certain vendor. You don’t want them steering you away from a vendor that might be a better fit.
- Expensive. Consultants may come with years of experience and expert knowledge of ERP implementation projects, but this comes with a cost. If your company is struggling making the investment in ERP to begin with, it may be able to save by using internal resources instead of a consultant.
Before your company decides to go the in-house route with an ERP project make sure there is an internal resource with some ERP experience who has the bandwidth to take on the workload of an ERP implementation. If your company is choosing to go the consultant route this can be a great choice as long as it fits within your ERP project budget and you stay on the lookout for any of the consultant’s biases.