What To Expect from an ERP Consultant

Danielle Lobo

As a successful business owner, you know that in order to continue on this current pace it is imperative to work even harder and to look proactively at your current operations to uncover areas of improvement and new opportunities. Deep down you are fully aware that in order to grow the business even further you cannot remain stagnant in your processes, and that you must account for the anticipated increase in demand. This is the point when many business owners turn to an inventory and accounting ERP software system to help manage all aspects of the business. This is a critical moment in the business cycle, but unfortunately for many owners, this type of robust technology is new to them and they are sometimes overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin the search.

ERP Software Is Not Comparable to Buying Any SaaS Product

For example, if you want to watch movies and TV on demand, you might ask yourself a few questions to help determine which entertainment subscription service to choose. To conduct research, you may read a few reviews of Netflix and Amazon Prime but if there is a particular show or genre then the decision is usually a no-brainer.

ERP Software is on the opposite side of the scale when it comes to SaaS software Research. ERP is designed to manage many areas of the business and help it grow. These departments are complex to manage and may require specific functionality for your industry or organization – depending on your processes.

It takes more than two questions and a few reviews to determine the right software for your business and it is not so easy to cancel the subscription. This is a long-term investment so research and implementation should not be taken lightly – this is where ERP Consultants come into play.

The Role of an ERP Consultant

The role of an ERP Consultant refers to any software professional offering consulting services in ERP Software. Some assist in the search for the perfect ERP system, and occasionally, in its seamless implementation. In certain situations, it might make sense to turn to an ERP Consultant and rely on their expertise to help with the process. However, this is not always necessary and depending on the type of consultant, can lead to negative results.

There are two types of consultants. ERP consultants can be external and internal.

External Consultants

External Consultants refer to those that help businesses find, evaluate, and implement ERP Software. They work on your behalf to investigate systems. The ERP software world is heavily saturated making it overwhelming for those who are pressed for time or unsure about what questions to ask. Business owners are experts in their business, not software. A consultant may consider themselves a software aficionado, and it is true that they carry extensive experience in testing and implementing numerous ERP systems.

If the consultant is willing to not only assist with the software and vendor selection but to also stake a percentage of the consulting fee on successful implementation, then you will have found the one in a thousand consultant's willing to take ownership of their recommendations!

Internal Consultants

Internal Consultants will help with the implementation of the software after you have committed financially and agreed upon an implementation date.  They are skilled professionals who specialize in the select ERP solution, possessing an unmatched level of expertise in that specific software. They will also hold experience with organizations that share similar processes to yours. They will be able to identify processes where efficiency can be improved, or they may even scrap an entire process altogether. They will have insider knowledge on updates, features and functionality, workarounds, customizations and more.

While internal consultants will not help you with finding and evaluating other vendors, they will be able to identify areas for rejuvenating your processes.

Technical Requirements of an ERP Consultant

Process Analysis

One of the main requirements of an external ERP consultant is the ability to undergo a full process and requirements analysis before you start searching for vendors. If you aren’t familiar with processes in the warehouse or on the accounting team, you might miss out on vital functionality that could help those teams with their processes.

ERP consultants have the experience and skills to interview your staff and gather the necessary information that will help your business find the right ERP solution.

Project Development and Management

As highlighted above, an ERP implementation is not a simple or quick task. It is a long-term investment into your company’s growth and the search, the evaluation and the implementation are three separate tasks that must be developed and managed. A consultant will be able to lead the trajectory of the project without disrupting business.

Undercover Opportunities for Business Process Efficiency

Internal consultants who are well-versed in the latest technology and have extensive experience in working with diverse business processes will provide valuable insights and recommendations for enhancing business process efficiency. For example, one of the areas in which consultants find the most areas for improvement is in the warehouse. They may offer a new picking and packing solution or a new way to store inventory that is more efficient for pickers. Now for management, an ERP consultant with be able to recommend reports that will allow users to make data-driven business decisions.


Assisting with Implementation is another main reason why an ERP consultant is helpful. Once you sign a formal proposal, an internal implementation team will be assigned to your organization. There will be a few departments involved on the team but the Implementation Consultant will become your direct contact during the implementation.

Data Migration

One of the first steps to implementation is Data Migration. It is encouraged to clean your data ahead of an implementation but some ERP vendors will perform the entire data migration process to bring historical data from old systems into the new one.


Customizations will be identified during the sales process and included in your initial proposal, but it is common for ERP Consultants to uncover additional opportunities for customers during the implementation process. It is encouraged that during your search and evaluation, you work on a “wish list” for future review.

User Training

The ERP consultant will be responsible for training your team on the ERP software. It’s important your team is being trained by a professional who knows the system inside out so they can answer questions. It is likely the user training will have dedicated time so make sure you prepare your team for change and training.

Result Evaluation

With every big project comes minor issues. You can trust that your ERP Consultant will identify these issues and work to solve them in a reasonable amount of time. During and after the implementation, it is important to test the processes and ensure they work seamlessly together.

Signs of a Good ERP Consultant

If you do decide to work with an external consultant though, in order to increase your chances of a successful search and implementation, ensure you look for a consultant with the following traits:

An Acute Interest in Your Business Success

Above all else the top quality you should look for in an ERP Consultant is that they have a genuine interest to help your business grow and succeed. Of course, there will be personal and professional gain for the consultant; however, it is the ones who can fully invest themselves into your business that are the most beneficial. The goal is to hire a consultant who takes the time to deeply consider and question your desired implementation results and your idea of ‘success’. It is important to work cohesively with your consultant to clarify what you hope to achieve and then devise a plan of action to arrive at those results. The last thing you want to do is to hire a consultant who already has a plan of action without taking the time to discuss and learn your goals.

Past Vendor Experience

Without even realizing it, many ERP Consultants are actually vendor representatives, in that they may not work for a specific vendor but they do have preferred solutions. In these cases, the consultant will often steer you in a certain direction regardless of your preferences (It is not necessarily wrong for a consultant to have certain preferences). They often have many years of experience and may find that a select few solutions have worked well for his or her clientele and others have not. The point is that it is best to have a well-rounded consultant who has known experience working with a variety of vendors and is open to suggestions on new vendors.

Open Communication Channels

This may seem fairly obvious, but having open communication channels with your consultant is imperative. You are hiring him or her because they have a certain level of expertise in the ERP software market and as a result, you will have many crucial and time-sensitive questions that need their immediate attention. Now we’re not saying he or she must have a dedicated phone line to answer every question that arises on a whim, but rather a noticeable effort to keep in constant communication not allowing too much time to pass without a reply.

A Good Culture Fit

Just as you should want a consultant who shares an interest in your business’s success, you should also search for one that is a good fit with your company’s culture. The consultant will be working with many different employees and when personalities mesh well, it fosters a positive and productive working environment. For example, if your business has a laid-back atmosphere, a consultant who is serious and formal will struggle to adapt.  Finding a consultant who aligns with your company's culture will ensure a seamless integration, allowing for open and effortless collaboration. This connection between the consultant and your employees will foster stronger relationships and enhance the overall communication within your organization.

Investing in your company’s growth by purchasing an ERP software system is a big step. An ERP Consultant can be a valuable resource to help ensure you are making a wise decision. However, it is just as important to ensure you are picking the right consultant. Should you elect to use a consultant to alleviate the stresses of finding a system, be sure to look for one with the qualities outlined above.