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Jim Ritterbusch

3 ways your midsize business can benefit from a technology consult

By | SOLUTIONS | No Comments
Ask a Technology Expert

Tech consultants don’t make the products, so they are very open about the pros and cons of each option. Additionally, they have more than one software product to offer. They’ve already steered many other companies in your industry, so they are familiar with the ins and outs your business is likely to face.

Growing businesses turn to lots of experts to assist them in making plans for the future. Real estate experts guide businesses into planning for their property and facilities needs. HR professionals help businesses find the best talent to boost their employee rosters, and Technology Consultants are there to help businesses find the right software tools and solutions to assure their long-term growth and prosperity.

The process of choosing business software applications like CRM and inventory control software was once much different than it is today. First, there were fewer options. Second, all software meant expensive on-premises installations – SaaS and cloud-based applications weren’t available. Third, choosing software was a long, tedious process, because it meant gaining approval for a massive capital expenditure, and probably buying new hardware to accommodate the latest software products.

All that has changed. Now, whether you’re looking for new ERP software, CRM or Business Intelligence, there are an overwhelming number of options available. Some are on-site, others cloud-based. What’s the difference in cloud-based or SaaS software, anyway?

For all these reasons and more, it’s much better for the growing mid-sized company to partner with a technology consultant early. Just like the right HR consultant can assure you have the talent you need to succeed, the right tech consultant makes sure that you have the right products according to your industry, size, IT infrastructure, future plans, and other critical considerations. This is crucial, whether you’re selecting inventory control software, finance software, or CRM.

1. Find the right technologies to run your business

One of the reasons why there are so many software options today is that no software product is one-size-fits-all. What works beautifully in a healthcare organization may not serve the needs of a food manufacturer or energy company. Finance software, for example, comes in a wide array of options, including accounting packages, ERP, and more generalized business intelligence software. For example, should a manufacturing company invest in inventory control software and accounting software? Or is there a solution that allows for multiple functions with a single system?

Dear Future, I'm ready!

You’re not just choosing a software product for now. You’re selecting a system with key technology that bring you into the future, like mobile, cloud, and data analytics.

2. Prepare for the future

Mobile technology, the cloud, the IoT, and big data have shaken the very foundations of the business world. Most of the software that’s being replaced today is becoming outdated because of these very technologies. What will the next round of technical innovations bring? How will the next generation of cloud, mobile, and analytics affect products like inventory control software, BI tools, or ERP? A technology consultant can help your business find products that will not only go with you into the future, but will help carry you there.

3. Benefit from a wide range of industry knowledge and experience

A technology consultant doesn’t design or develop the software solutions he or she helps you evaluate. So, unlike dealing with a tech vendor or software development company, you aren’t hearing only the pros of the solution without hearing the cons. Additionally, a tech consultant hasn’t just helped one manufacturer choose inventory control software, or assisted one healthcare organization in finding an EMR system, or led just one food and beverage manufacturer to find the right CRM solution. They’ve helped many such organizations find the software products they need. This level of knowledge and experience means that they’ve already navigated these tough decisions before and are in an excellent position to guide your company into the right choices for your circumstances and situation.

When it’s time for your company to choose a new ERP, CRM or BI system, turn to the experienced, knowledgeable pros at NexTec Group. Contact us to get started today.

Five must-ask questions before signing an ERP partner contract

By | Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP, Food and Beverage, Manufacturing, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Professional Services, Sage X3, Service, SOFTWARE, SOLUTIONS | No Comments

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.