As businesses evaluate ERP offerings from different software providers, they consider several factors. However, one factor many businesses tend to overlook is the potential relationship they can build with the provider, which is essential to the success of a chosen ERP system.
What can you do to forge a strong and lasting business relationship with your ERP software provider? This post shares the five best practices that can help you achieve your objective:
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions are critical tools for businesses of all sizes, types, and locations, which makes software selection a critical process for them. But selecting the right software isn’t an easy task for businesses, as there are plenty of ERP software solutions available out there in the market.
This, though, isn’t the only challenge organizations face as they embark on the journey of finding the ERP system that’s best fit for their business. On their journey, businesses ERP offerings from different software providers and consider a number of factors such as the in-built features of the solution, how it can complement their internal processes, the deep vertical expertise of the software provider, etc.
However, the product itself may not necessarily be the differentiator. One important differentiating factor that many businesses tend to overlook is the potential relationship they can have with the provider. In fact, when established early, a good relationship with the vendor can prove useful both in the software evaluation stage, and also as the relationship matures.
Why Sound Software Provider-client Relationship Matters
Why does the software provider-client relationship matter in the first place?
Because a successful ERP deployment is often a long-term commitment that is determined by the relationship between the client and the software provider.
When you cultivate a relationship with the software provider, it enables the latter to gain a thorough understanding of your business from end to end and to get to the bottom of your problem areas as well as also identify the pain points that were unknown to you. This, in turn, allows the provider to offer you a tailored solution that is capable of fixing those problems and handling your requirements, along with a more personalized customer experience.
Yes, your software provider shouldn’t only provide you with an excellent ERP product, but should also deliver a great end-to-end experience, which happens to be the cornerstone of a successful partnership. The better the experience you get every time, the stronger your bond grows. And it is the strength of this bond that eventually influences the success of your ERP system and your ability to grow your business confidently.
Cultivating and maintaining this relationship shouldn’t merely be restricted to the deployment stage. It should continue post-implementation as well because when your business grows, your software provider’s role comes into play once again. When it happens, it’s your software provider who’ll be ready to make the best recommendations and bolster your ERP solution in the most proactive way possible.
Relationship with software provider should be as important as the product itself
There is a general view these days that almost all modern ERP software solutions are pretty good and largely similar. And so, the software product alone may not be sufficient to ensure your business success. This is why your relationship with the software provider should be as important as the product itself. After all, it is your software provider whose assistance helps you unlock full value from the complicated and expensive ERP system that you acquire.
A software provider, who has a good comprehension of your business, its different processes, and its products can properly fit the ERP software’s features to address your current requirements. And once your business scales, the software will evolve too to accommodate its growing needs, making it necessary for you to ensure that the relationship too must continue to grow.
Here, you need to understand that as with personal relationships, it’s a two-way street when it comes to your relationship with your software provider, as well. This means you also need to do your bit to strengthen your relationship with your software provider.
Keep the communication lines open
This tip actually applies to all kinds of relationships- personal or professional. You must always keep the line of communication with your partner open. When you keep communicating with your software provider on a consistent basis, it not just helps you stay connected and forge a strong bond with the software provider, but also lets you derive the most value from your ERP investment. You can stay current on the latest functionalities and updates, discuss the problems, take their assistance when required, and ensure transparency among you.
Know your software provider better than they know you
Businesses expect their software provider to understand their said and unsaid needs. In addition, businesses also expect their software provider to have the patience to understand those needs, and to have a bit of empathy as well, among other virtues. So, if your business does find one such software provider, it is not a bad idea at all to have a little bit of empathy toward them too. And for that, you need to get to know your software provider and their team better than they know you. It lays the foundation for a strong, long-lasting relationship.
Consider your relationship as a journey, not an event
To develop and sustain a strong relationship with your software provider, it’s important to see your relationship as a continuous, ongoing journey rather than an isolated event that ends with deployment and restarts only when there’s an issue to be fixed. Once the implementation is done, you can look for ways to keep working collaboratively. You may ask your software provider to set up ongoing training programs for the employees, or come up with customized development tailored to your business processes, etc., to keep the ball rolling.
Make your software provider a part of your team
Teamwork makes the dream work. When you collaborate positively with your software provider and work together as a team to make your ERP system a success and achieve the objective of your business growth, more often than not it results in better outcomes for everyone. Treating your software provider as a part of your own team helps you get better services in return, and primes your partnership for long-term success.
Work with the right partner
ERP software solutions, their implementations, customizations, integrations, etc. are typically complex. But things become a lot easier when you have, by your side, the right software provider who ensures everything happens smoothly. So, before you go to the next step of forging a strong relationship with your software provider, you need to get the previous step of finding the best software partner for your business, right. A few things you can consider for it include verifying your software provider’s industry experience, verifying the reviews, accreditations, etc.
In a nutshell…
Just like in your personal life, you need to cultivate relationships in your business life as well. One such crucial relationship happens to be your relationship with your ERP software provider, which is essential for the success of your chosen ERP system, as well as your business.