Megaventory Blog - Online Inventory Management Software, Order fulfillment and Control System
This is the company blog for megaventory, an online software that helps small businesses that buy, sell and manufacture physical products to manage sales, purchasing, manufacturing and inventory. We blog about new features and updates but also about enterprise software, small businesses, cloud computing and the industry in general.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Choosing an ERP consultant: Panorama Consulting

In this third installment of our series of posts aimed to help anyone interested in finding an ERP consultant for their business, we're very glad to present Panorama Consulting.

In particular, Brevard Neely, Senior Manager with them has agreed to answer a similar set of questions as the previous two ERP consultants.


Here it goes:

Tell us a few words about you or your company and your personal role in it:

Panorama Consulting Solutions provides services including ERP software justification, selection and implementation, organizational change management, benefits realization and project recovery. Panorama also is frequently called to share its expertise as expert witnesses in ERP failure and mismanagement trials.

Our clients run the gamut — from domestic, family-owned SMBs to enormous multinationals in industries as diverse as financial services, manufacturing, life sciences, food and beverage and retail, to name just a few. Panorama’s methodology is so flexible that it can be customized to suit any size ERP engagement.

I am a Senior Manager working in a dual role overseeing both Panorama’s marketing department and several client projects.

Do you have expertise in a particular brand of ERP software or are you totally brand-agnostic when it comes to your consulting? Why did you make such a choice?

Panorama was founded on the principle that ERP consulting is most beneficial when it is provided by independent, vendor-agnostic consultants. While we have broad and deep ERP experience in more than 150 packages, we are not compensated by ERP vendors for our work or recommendations. This structure allows us to find and deploy the ERP software that best fits our clients — not the ERP software that best lines our pockets. Panorama has pioneered this approach in the ERP consulting industry as it allows us to serve as true, trusted advisors to our clients. Our commitment to this approach is nonnegotiable. In fact, we have turned down countless offers to partner with this vendor or that vendor. It’s just never going to happen.

We also remain technology-agnostic because implementation success factors are the same across specific ERP systems. Whether a client is implementing a Tier I solution such as SAP or Oracle E-Business Suite or a Tier II solution such as Epicor or Infor, we use the same proven and technology agnostic implementation framework. In addition, we partner with the world’s top experts in each of the leading ERP systems to provide the technical expertise required to complement our other consulting service offerings. This breadth and depth in various ERP solutions means that our clients get the best of ERP implementation best practices and have “one throat to choke” when selecting and implementing ERP solutions.

Do you specialize in a particular part of the total spectrum of ERP functionality (CRM, inventory, manufacturing, distribution, financial, Project Management etc.) or do you offer a broader service?

Panorama offers a 360-degree spectrum of ERP services, meaning we are accustomed to joining ERP engagements at any time to offer benefit to the client. We specialize in bringing value to a client at all points in the ERP life cycle, from negotiating optimal deals with ERP vendors to conducting exhaustive software selection evaluations to managing complex implementations on time and on budget to helping organizations recover from ERP failures. Our input and leadership is proven to minimize ERP project risk and increase the success and value of these initiatives.

Do you have certain tools and/or approaches you use when working with our clients?

Panorama has developed the PERFECT® methodology to ensure our clients benefit from our experience, expertise and insight at every turn of their ERP projects. These proven and proprietary tools allow organizations to harness the benefits of Panorama’s collective decades of ERP experience, regardless of which of Panorama’s expert staff members are on-site.

In terms of approach to our work, Panorama is focused on forging true and lasting collaborations with client teams. We want to educate and engage clients to take responsibility for and ownership of their ERP systems to ensure success long after our team leaves the building.

Do you focus on particular industries?

No – Panorama’s methodology is applicable to all private- and public-sector industries that use ERP software, including aerospace, manufacturing and distribution, financial services, local and state governments and so forth.

In what ways is your role changing due to the broader cloud adoption for business uses and the abundance of online ERP vendors?

Frankly, it isn’t changing our role at all. Regardless of which software package or deployment model chosen, organizations still want and need help implementing ERP systems, managing the organizational change associated with the implementation and ensuring the company realizes all the benefits possible from the system ... and that’s where we come in. In terms of cloud or online vendors, bring them on. We’re happy to see any advancement that can simplify the process, save organizations money and disempower the vendors’ control.

What is the role of the ERP consultant when it comes to helping a small business which is on the market for an ERP solution?

The role of the ERP consultant helping a small business is the same as one helping a large business: make sure the ERP system is chosen correctly, works correctly and is used correctly. With that being said, small businesses typically have more challenges when it comes to resource allocation and backfilling necessary for ERP success, so we spend time getting their project management processes squared away and ensuring the right staff members are receiving the right support to participate in the project.

What do you think are the major problems/challenges in the ERP consulting industry?

The major problem we see is that organizations still want to focus almost exclusively on the technical aspects of implementation and cut the change management aspects that truly create successful ERP initiatives. ERP failures aren’t caused by technical mishaps; they’re caused by employees not learning the software, not caring about using the software and sabotaging the new processes. Organizations that refuse to see this are doomed to failure, and there’s nothing any ERP consultant can do to save them.

How do you see the business software evolve? What should a small business keep in mind and expect in the next 12 months?

Small businesses should keep in mind that they’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to ERP software. Between the new technologies, new deployment options and new companies coming on the market every month, SMBs shouldn’t feel as though they have to choose a marquee vendor or multi-million dollar software package to compete. The options are there for the taking. The issue with this, however, is that the more diluted the market becomes – the more confusing it becomes to a small business without the manpower or expertise to make the best choice. This is where ERP consultants come in. So, in the next 12 months, I would suspect that the role of ERP consultants will become even stronger as companies begin to realize that nothing will save them more time and effort than putting experts on the project from the very beginning.

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