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Accountability: Commissions, Deliverables and Publishers

January 22, 2013

There are 3 main components for a successful ERP implementation: (a) the software needs to be able to meet the customer’s requirements and procedures; (b) the pre-sale needs analysis process needs to be done accurately in order to ensure that the application and the requirements are aligned and (c) the post-sale implementation and support team need to be knowledgeable on the customer’s processes and available in the long run to support the installation.

Obviously, a major part of a successful implementation is to have scoped the customer’s requirements correctly. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not the case, and it has been our experience that many of these misjudgments are due to these factors: (a) the sales rep is not going to be part of the implementation efforts (or part of the consulting team) and (b) the sales rep is paid on commissions basis. A typical consequence is that the customer is probably going to be told that the requirements can be met by the application, leaving the customer without a way to verify this due to lack of knowledge of the application itself. We recommend thoroughly verifying what the future role of the sales rep is going to be during the life of the project and future support. Puy him on the hook for delivery, so to speak.

In addition to sales through reps publishers are dedicated to developing their applications and rely solely on their distribution channel for sales. However, there are many other publishers that have an internal sales force that actually competes with the distribution channel (or there is no distribution channel at all). Nothing wrong with this. However, we highly recommend for a prospect to verify which is the case for the applications that are being presented. In thoses cases where the publisher also has a direct sales force, this can bring very attractive discounts on the purchase of the application. It is also important to review the availability of local support. As much as many firms claim that these kind of work can always be performed remotely, it is our experience that being able to be on site, seeing the processes, meeting the people and reviewing the IT environment is priceless and critical for meeting the targeted timeframes for the project. Also, having a professional available to visit your company within a few hours can reduce the downtime in case of an emergency (natural disaster, server crashes, personnel illness or availability, etc.).

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