Partnering With a Consulting Firm for JD Edwards Implementation: Tips and Tricks for Success

February 2, 2024
Natalie Thorburn

JD Edwards, an Enterprise Resource Planning program, is a powerful platform for success. Its many modules make it possible to organize nearly all business functions in one area, reducing confusion and ushering in greater synchronicity between all levels of an organization. However, it’s also a very complicated product to implement, meaning that most companies rely on consulting firms to assist them with the task.

Not all JD Edwards consultants are made equal, though: some are truly incredible aficionados with decades of success, while others are fly-by-night startups with little experience. Furthermore, some firms may not have the resources you’re looking for, making partnering with a consulting firm difficult. You can ease the process by focusing on these essential factors of success for a great implementation with a consultant team.

Choose Wisely

Of course, everyone wants the best vendors possible for any project, but it is especially important to choose a consulting firm carefully when working on something as intricate and complex as JD Edwards Enterprise One. You want a firm with expertise in the field, with dozens or even hundreds of implementations under its belt, and that knows how to tailor their approach to your specific industry.

When interviewing firms, don’t focus on just the price: the lowest quote may not necessarily mean the best work, especially as many implementations go over budget. Research the ERP process ahead of time so that you’re not marveling at a firm that promises they can get it done in 2 months or less; that’s very unrealistic and may result in shoddy work. You will also want to ask for references and contact others who have worked with the firm, asking them for their honest opinion about how the process went.

Manage Expectations

Everyone should be clear on the different tasks between consultants and in-house staff so that there is no confusion as to who is doing what. While your teams will be working closely together, your own staff shouldn’t believe that they don’t have a role in the process; this can either lead to them feeling resentful, or it may mean that they don’t take the implementation seriously.

Great consulting firms will be upfront about what their services include and will ensure that their value proposition is clear from the start. They’ll be meticulous planners, setting out goals and helping you delineate tasks so that all the right people are involved at the right time. Furthermore, they will be collaborative with your staff, recognizing that offering ownership to your team ensures that everyone is committed to the project rather than feeling as if everything is out of their hands.

Avoid Feature Creep

One serious problem that is of particular concern for a JD Edwards implementation is feature creep, when you end up adding more and more requirements on top of what you are already doing. This can lead to failure, as there are too many moving parts to be managed effectively; this will also be much more expensive and can dismay your shareholders when they find that your budget has spun out of control.

Some shady consulting firms will encourage feature creep, as it means that they will be hired on for longer and can swindle more money out of you. They may also suggest you add things that aren’t really necessary for your needs, leaving you with a messy implementation that doesn’t actually satisfy your requirements.

A good consulting firm will stick to the plan as much as possible, as they will have performed a thorough assessment of your most pressing needs and will have a good idea of what is most relevant for your operations. If you do find that other features will become indispensable later on, they will usually encourage you to work modularly and roll things out slowly so as to not overwhelm your staff.

Consider the Human Element

Many business leaders tend to shove feelings to the side and not think about how organizational changes impact their team; they want results, not reactions. Such a coldhearted approach can also be dangerous, as it will lead to unnecessary friction between consultants and your core team. Disputes, malicious compliance, and quiet quitting are all major concerns that need to be taken seriously if your JD Edwards implementation is to succeed.

Great consultants have a human touch, and they understand that change is often very difficult for many people. They will encourage a change-oriented mindset and take the time to understand the concerns of those who will be most impacted rather than just sweeping it under the rug.

You, too, can help with this by checking in regularly with your staff and asking for their honest opinions, particularly about the interpersonal dynamics between key players. Sometimes, a simple conversation can get things back on track and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Your organization is made up of people, and people will have discord, but you can minimize this by acknowledging the interpersonal element and finding consultants who understand this, too.

A JD Edwards implementation has the potential to completely revitalize your organization, but it will only succeed if you have great consultants at your side. Consider these major factors when choosing and working with a consulting service to ensure the best results.

 

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