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CLOUDEXTEND BLOG

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Running a business is complicated enough. That’s why solutions like enterprise resource planning (ERP) software were created. But it turns out that implementing an ERP can get complicated, too: There’s a lot of specific technical knowledge involved that your employees are not likely to have, especially if you’re a small to mid-size organization. That’s why many organizations—regardless of size—will choose to work with an ERP consultant to get their new solution up and running, as well as to check in on it and tune things up from time to time as updates and even upgrades are released. 

If you’re working with an ERP consultant for the first time, you might be wondering what to look for. And if you’re an ERP consultant yourself, this is a good time for a skills check to make sure you’re the best partner available for your customers. 

The Three Types of ERP Professionals

Just like there are multiple types of ERPs based on deployment type and even industry, ERP consultants also have specialized skills and knowledge. Most ERP professionals will fall into one of these broader categories: 

Functional Consultants
These ERP professionals are deep into the high-level strategic thinking underpinning the ERP implementation or migration. They’ll have insight on managing workflow processes for various departments—from human resources to accounting to sales and marketing—and how those will influence the implementation strategy.

Technical Consultants
If your ERP consultant is responsible for all the tasks required to implement your new ERP, they’re a technical consultant. These pros are the ones handling the programming, integration, installation, and customization of the ERP to suit the organization’s needs. They’re also the ones who will set up automation and reporting tools. 

Techno-Functional Consultants
Sometimes, an ERP professional can do both the functional and the technical. These hybrids understand both the business processes and the technical requirements for specific area of ERP such as finance or inventory, and can run the implementation and management end to end. 

Must-Have Skills for ERP Consultants

Professional ERP consultants are already invaluable to so many organizations, especially considering the complexity of the ERP system. Not only do they need to understand an organization’s software landscape, they need to document configurations to prep for the new ERP system. Consultants will also be key parts of the change management and technical teams, work out design specs per the organization’s requirements, and provide valuable insight and advice to leadership. 

Whether you’re looking to find the right ERP professional for the job, or looking to be the right professional, here are some of the must-have ERP consultant skills to look for: 

Technical
Technical skills are especially important for technical and techno-functional professionals, because they absolutely need the knowledge and experience required for implementing hardware and software. 

With ERP systems varying by vendor, ERP consultants should know the ins and outs of all the systems they work with. This could include getting certified by various ERP vendors, which helps both solidify and prove knowledge of specific systems. Add in expertise on big data and data management, understanding of APIs and connectors, plus newer tech such as predictive analytics, AI, and robotic process automation. Included with all that should also be the ability to develop custom reports, work with legacy ERP systems as needed, and data migration. 

Project Management
One big job within any ERP implementation is keeping the project on track. This includes finding the right people to staff the project, along with delegating tasks and ensuring the tasks stay on schedule. ERP consultants must also manage third-party vendors alongside internal teams. Cloud implementations will particularly put these skills to the test, since teams may be based in multiple locations. 

Professional Skills
Because ERP implementations will result in business units achieving more efficiency, ERP consultants also need to be skilled in the areas that will be impacted. This may include everything from accounting and finance to sales and marketing, supply chain management, materials management, even purchasing and procurement. 

Why do ERP consultants need these skills? Because they need to set up workflows that align with business processes. They should also be able to prepare business-requirements documents, translate those requirements into technical specifications, and then assist with designing the ERP system to meet said requirements. 

Soft Skills
The people side of an ERP implementation is just as important as the technology side, especially considering how many humans are involved, from executives to end users. Soft skills are critical to an ERP project, including collaboration, teamwork, and conflict resolution. After all, people need to work together just as much as the systems do. 

It also helps to have a bit of political acumen for building relationships inside the organization. ERP professionals should know well what to emphasize and how to compromise depending on their audience and the implementation’s effect on the specific department. 

Knowledge of Current Trends
Finally, ERP consultants need to keep a finger on the pulse of current technology trends. The organizations they are working with will expect the consultant to bring fresh insights and innovative solutions that leverage the latest tech to improve efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. With an ERP landscape that is continuously evolving, staying on top of trends takes dedication. Some of the latest trends ERP professionals are watching now include integrations and AI-driven analytics. 

Organizations use ERP consultants specifically for their expertise. Those with knowledge of current trends are better positioned to introduce clients to industry-leading practices and technology.  

Why We Love Partnering with ERP Consultants . . . And You Should, Too!

At CloudExtend, we love ERP professionals. In fact, we work specifically with organizations and ERP consultants through a robust partner program. Partnered with CloudExtend, ERP resellers and consultants can help provide access to applications that eliminate manual data entry, incomplete data, and communication silos in NetSuite, enabling extended automation and visibility across the organization. 

If you’ve ever thought about increasing your revenues by adding a partnership with CloudExtend—or if you’re looking for a partner that can help you implement the right ERP solution along with best-in-class Excel and email integration capabilities, let us introduce you to the CloudExtend Partner Program

“We’ve been a proud CloudExtend partner for a number of years. After seeing how easy it was to implement CloudExtend and how much time it saved our team, it’s been a no-brainer to recommend it to the organizations we work with, too.” 

– Adam Chaikin, Parter, Opal Creek Consulting 

Learn more about the CloudExtend Partner Program here.