The 5 Benefits of Direct Services versus VARs for ERP Implementations
There are several models for implementing ERP software in the market. The two most common methods are the direct services model (where the ERP vendor sends its dedicated team of in-house professionals) and the value-added resellers model (where the ERP vendor contracts with a third party company to implement your new software system). Since IQMS’ inception, we have believed that the direct services model is the best solution to serve our customers through their implementation and beyond. The benefits of selecting manufacturing ERP software with a direct services model are numerous and below are just a few:
Benefit No. 1: Direct services personnel are dedicated to a single ERP software. Other ERP software organizations that sell indirectly or through value-added resellers (VARs) can also be selling competing ERP solutions. Therefore, the services personnel may not be fully dedicated to one ERP product. With the breadth of functionality in ERP solutions today, it is hard enough keeping up with one offering, let alone staying on top of several products. Having implementation personnel dedicated to one product also improves their knowledge with applying the system to different business processes. This ultimately benefits the customer by having a more efficient implementation.
Benefit No. 2: Direct services personnel are trained by the company that develops, sells and supports the software. Who better to train the implementation services personnel than the company that develops the software they are implementing? Beyond the initial training, continuous education is conducted to keep up with the changes to the different versions. Additionally, IQMS professional services personnel are constantly impacting the future of how the software looks and operates. They are in on the ground floor when determining the need of the new functionality.
Benefit No. 3: IQMS direct services personnel have access to the development team. This allows for direct feedback for software enhancements and fixes. In several recent examples, IQMS has had services personnel on site at active implementation customers where the customers were requesting software enhancements to improve the efficiency of end user tasks. In one instance, our development and testing departments turned around an enhancement within seven hours. With the help of IQMS professional services, the customer had the enhancement in place within 24 hours. The end result was, because of the professional services direct link to the IQMS development team, an enhancement was developed that reduced an eight hour task down to one hour per day. Can you expect that kind of turnaround with a VAR?
Benefit No. 4: IQMS builds all customizations to ensure future “upgradeablity.” Many VARs like to build one-off customizations during ERP implementations. This will ensure additional billable services when the customer chooses to upgrade to the latest version of the ERP system they are on. At IQMS, all customizations either become part of the software that all customers receive or become a new module/utility. This ensures that when IQMS customers upgrade, they don’t need to upgrade multiple third party customizations along with the ERP system. We have encountered several businesses that have fallen into the customization trap with their legacy systems and were forced to use an antiquated system due to not being able to upgrade.
Benefit No. 5: Cost effective implementations. IQMS is an ERP software organization with a professional services group. We are not a VAR that is a consulting company that sells ERP software. They may sound similar, but the difference is that consulting companies make their money on consulting first and software second. VAR ERP software implementation service dollars to software dollars tend to be closer to a 1-to-1 ratio (If you spend $10,000 on the software, you also spend $10,000 on implementation services).
The typical IQMS implementation is at or under 50 percent of the software portion of the project. The IQMS model relies more on the customer project team to learn the system, make decisions, load data, etc. This also provides the added bonus of creating power users inside of your company, as opposed to leaving behind consultants to run your business for you after you have cut over to the new ERP system.
From the five benefits listed above you can see the value in working with an ERP company that directly develops, sells, implements and supports with dedicated personnel.