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Launching our new ERP services venture

I joined Habanero exactly five years ago to start an ERP consulting practice at Habanero and it's been a fascinating journey marked by milestones and achievements. In the next month or so we'll be launching a brand new ERP services venture to focus exclusively on the needs of growing mid-market companies. The purpose is to enable organizations to focus on doing business and achieve their goals by expertly implementing and managing their core business systems.

It's an exciting time and it's got me thinking about why we got into ERP consulting at Habanero in the first place. For many years I was a client, working for mid-market manufacturing organizations responsible for implementing ERP solutions and trying to make sense of how to partner effectively for the service and support we needed. I had a bunch of concerns at that time and wondered if the whole industry was moving in the right direction. I still wonder. What I experienced boils down to three things:

  1. Partner responsiveness and accessibility was awesome as long as I was buying software or planning an implementation. After go-live, not so much. My experience was that the partner moves on and becomes distracted with shiny new things and we were left on our own to figure out how to make the most of our investment. What I needed was ongoing guidance and support.

  2. ERP consulting firms often couldn't help me implement creative solutions for business processes where data capture or presentation happens outside of the ERP software itself. Point-of-sale, e-commerce, CRM, supplier systems, mobile solutions, reporting, barcoding, and dashboard and document management are examples of places I needed to look elsewhere for support. When I had to work with multiple firms, challenges often led to finger-pointing and disclaimers like "it's not our data causing the problem ?."

  3. Client satisfaction and value realization seemed less important to firms I worked with than their internal considerations like consultant utilization and resource optimization.

When I started the ERP practice at Habanero I felt it was critical to focus on delivery excellence and a model that valued long term relationships and the ability to take a very holistic approach to the overall solution concept. I'm more committed than ever to delivering on that promise.

I'm disappointed by ERP's track record in the markets we serve and I can understand why clients are reluctant to launch new projects. The perceived risk is often too high and the result is that organizations may miss critical opportunities. Done right, ERP is such a powerful enabler that can support any business strategy, flowing critical data through the organization and delivering tight integration across the entire value chain.

The sad part is that as an industry, we the ERP consulting partners, the experts who should lead companies to a brighter and more successful future, have largely failed and continue to do so — creating an environment where new ERP systems are only selected when there is no other option. It should not be that way.

I meet leaders from companies every week whose organizations can benefit significantly from the capabilities that ERP solutions can offer. And they know it. They show up with an exciting vision and a boatload of fear. They complain about being "sold to" by people who "don't listen" and they talk about how critical it is to ensure their board of a successful project. They are wary of ending up in a stalled project or a semi-successful implementation that really doesn't move the needle.

What they need is for real business transformation to occur in a safe and controlled manner. And they need implementation and service partners that show up like an extension of their own business aligned to a vision of seeing the ERP investment as an ongoing commitment.

We'll continue to work hard to earn our clients' trust and respect by staying true to our intention from day one: to build long-term relationships with our clients based on trust and mutual respect, and deliver solutions that exactly meet our clients' needs.

Our new ERP consulting venture will be built on the following brand promise:

No surprises. We manage all the risks. Our commitment to being over-prepared and obsessing about the details means we can provide failsafe, stable solutions, projects that meet their goals, and responsive support.

Responsiveness. We're never too busy. Our proximity and client-service orientation means that when clients need us at any stage of the process, we spring into action quickly.

Experience and versatility. We solve the toughest problems. Our depth of proven experience with similar projects means certainty and results for our clients. Our roots in software development mean broader solutioning capabilities for our clients.

The official launch is about a month away and we can hardly wait. The market is overdue for a breath of fresh air and our brand promise is more than words. It is who we are.