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Six questions to ask your ERP or CRM systems integrator about its IP


Hitachi Solutions > Blogs > 2019 > 05 > Six questions to ask your ERP or CRM systems integrator about its IP

When deploying a new ERP or CRM system, finding the right systems integrator (SI) can be the difference between success and failure. Yet, many ERP or CRM system integrators overpromise and underdeliver, especially when it comes to intellectual property (IP) and tools and how these might be leveraged to accelerate project delivery. So how can you make sure you get as much value from them as possible?

In this post, we recommend six critical questions to ask your systems integrator. This way, you can be confident that its IP is up to scratch, which will allow your organization to achieve maximum ROI.

First, what is IP?

Pre-defined IP for a particular industry or discipline can help reduce project implementation time and costs. IP can include methodology, products, and more. It’s important to understand whether an SI has experience working with your industry, and to scrutinise exactly what their offering consists of. Let’s look at the questions you can ask to uncover this.

1. Do you have experience working on similar projects?

Find out if the company has worked on projects like yours before. Does it have previous experience working with companies in your industry, or requiring comparable solutions and of deploying this kind of technology? Is the organisation well-known, trusted and recognised as an industry leader?

2. Can you provide evidence of previous success?

Make sure to ask an SI to show you its success stories. Look for proven experience, such as evidence-based case studies. Are there endorsements on its website from respectable organisations? Ask them to provide reference details of organisations that have worked with them in the past.

3. Do you have the methodology and processes to match your expertise?

Experience and expertise are one thing, but you need to know that an SI has more than just capable people. You need to know that it has mature and capable methodology and processes. Is their Methodology proven and well established, is it updated and enhanced over time? You should be looking to partner with an SI that is open to improving their accelerators and methodologies on a continual basis. With the pace of technological change today.

4. Are you continually investing in the latest technology?

In the era of the cloud, keeping up with the latest technology is more important than ever. Previously – with an ERP or CRM system, once you went live, you would be required to patch your solution occasionally, but you would remain on that software version for several years. This is no longer the case for some technology providers. Microsoft for instance has just introduced mandatory and regular updates for Dynamics 365 customers – two per year. These changes come thick and fast; you need an SI that can help you take advantage of this change and avoid disruption to your business.

Look for an SI partner that is well-established, with enough budget to invest in its people, methodologies and tools, so that they are in line with the latest technology set. If you opt to partner with an SI that is less well established and committed to keeping pace with these changes et, they may not be able to and help for maximise the value that new technologies can bring.

5. How closely aligned are they with major vendors?

If your SI is working with you to deliver the latest technology then they must be closely aligned with the vendor, e.g. Microsoft, and their strategic aims.

6. Do you offer pre-built, industry-vertical accelerators?

A pre-built, industry-vertical accelerator can help reduce the cost of your solution by speeding up project timescales and ultimately reducing time and cost. Rather than starting from scratch, a pre-built, pre-configured and pre-tested solution for your industry can be used to provide a foundation on which to start the project and gain efficiencies by minimising the level of customisations that need to be funded by the project.

However, not all accelerators are created equally. You need to ask your SI what type of accelerators they have, what has been proven in the field and how successful previous projects have been. Also, is there continual investment in the accelerator to ensure that it remains updated with the demands of your industry?

Find the right ERP or CRM systems integrator

These are the specific areas that you should question your SI about. If the SI cannot answer these questions and prove that they will add value then you may want to select another SI. The right SI with the right IP could be the difference to ‘make or break’ your new ERP or CRM solution. Asking the right questions can provide confidence and peace of mind, as you will know that you are entering a partnership with a systems integrator you can trust to deliver.

To learn more about what you should expect from an ERP or CRM systems integrator get in touch with us today.

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Jason Winstanley

With a background in computer aided engineering, 20+ years in ERP and CRM implementation and a 10 year seniority with Hitachi Solutions in the UK, Jason Winstanley is the author of the Consensus methodology that today drives many Hitachi Solutions integration projects.

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