Five must-ask questions before signing an ERP partner contract

istock_000017007805large-1024x680Did you invest significant dollars for a new ERP system only to be left feeling that you are not getting the appropriate return on investment?  Are you reading about your chosen ERP partner’s system capabilities and wondering why your organization is not using many of these functions?  If so, it might be time to consider finding a new Value Added Reseller (VAR).

It goes without saying that not all VAR organizations are alike.  This being the case, it is important that when searching for a new VAR you understand what questions to ask.  The following are five questions that you should be asking when interviewing for a new VAR partner.

Is the ERP software system that my company uses a core focus of your VAR organization?

With more ERP systems on the market than ever, many VAR organizations sell and implement multiple systems.  You need to ensure that your new VAR is keenly focused on the ERP system that you are using.  So, find out how many clients they support, how many new implementations they have done in the past 12 – 24 months, and how many customers they have on the current version of the ERP system

How large is your organization?

While size does not ensure quality, it does provide some insight into tenure, sustainability, and in-house expertise.  If you have a large user group logging into an ERP system on a daily basis, chances are that you will have questions that you would like answered by an expert.  You need to be certain that the VAR you work with has the manpower to support you

Do you have a Help Desk and/or support line?

While many VARs claim that they provide support, the reality is that their consultants are out in the field working on new implementations.  An existing customer that has a question is often left trying to connect with a consultant after hours and/or on weekends.  So, find out if your VAR has a support desk and an established process for helping existing customers

Do you have experience in my industry?

It is not imperative that the VAR have dozens of clients in your sector, but it is important that they have in-depth expertise with the modules that are central to your use of the software.  Ask to speak with the experts so that you can get a feel as to their knowledge, communications styles, etc

Aside from support, what else can I expect?

All VAR organizations can provide support and assistance (some faster than others!). You should expect that, but what else will they do for you? Ask your new VAR candidate how and when they will communicate with you and what they will do to pro-actively help you get more value from your ERP system.  Do they provide tutorial webinars?  Do they notify their customers about exciting new add-on tools or third party modules that might be of interest?   Do they conduct semi-annual “state-of-affairs” meetings?   Find out if they really add value!

The goal of every organization is to increase productivity.  The effective use of an ERP system can help a company to achieve this goal.  If you are feeling underwhelmed with the results of your ERP system implementation, it might be the right time to seek out a new VAR partner.