There's an old saying ... "I just wanted to know what time it was, not buy the watch."
Have you ever had an experience where an ERP consultant simply regurgitates back to you, exactly what you just said to them? They might add a few "buzz words" for good measure and to impress, but this is what we in the consulting world refer to as "consultant speak." When this occurs, it's misleading and clients not only get confused, but also become disillusioned. Unfortunately, because clients often "don't know, what they don't know," consultants will use this tactic to avoid talking about realistic expectations during an implementation or simply to avoid talking about something they're not quite sure about (as opposed to being forthcoming about needing time to research for a solution driven answer to the client's concern).
So, what sets a good consulting firm apart from a not so good consulting firm? In my opinion, first and foremost it's "honesty." Without it, you'll never know where you really stand even after a consultant is gone. There are other characteristics you should avoid as well, and after decades of running successful ERP consulting practices, I've put together a basic list of what I would advise clients to look for when making a selection ...
- Highly experienced in both the software and the business side
- Solution oriented, efficient, and organized firm(s)
- Understand fully the client's bottom-line and time constraints and operates with a sense of urgency
- Highly accessible, responsive, and strongly committed to mutual success
- Understands that a client needs to be informed throughout the entire process, and has an understanding of how their new software works before exiting a project
- A tenured history of industry success and experience
These are just a few that immediately stand out to me and what clients "should" expect at the most base level. But, what separates the good consulting firms from the great ones are the finer people skills, and the finesse in which the client/consultant relationship is handled. A great consulting firm will offer up a "can-do" attitude, friendly demeanor, adaptability, creative & solution driven thinking, transparency, straight forward communication, the ability to effectively operate and lead at the "C level," and the ability to conduct group or one on one "end user" training, etc.
The great consulting firms have the ability to come in and seamlessly operate as trusted advisors... they naturally instill an unparalleled sense of confidence and assurance to what can be often times seen as an extremely challenging or stressful process.