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Does choosing your implementation partner trump choosing your software? We think so..

As a boutique consultancy, we spend much of our time aiding companies in choosing their software, whether that’s SAP, Oracle or Microsoft. While it can be confusing trying to navigate through all the products available on the market, and weigh up the pros and cons, there is one key element that we have come to notice at Boss Consulting.

One organisation might rave about their software choice, while another may hate it. But a lot of the time, it does not really come down to the software itself – the issue lies with the way it has been implemented, and the company’s ability to adopt the new solution and ways of working. In our opinion, those that get this right, choose the right implementation partner.


So, how can businesses get this right?

Here are some key aspects of the decision-making process.

Flexibility vs Challenge

Some businesses say that they want to work with a partner who is ‘flexible’ – but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. In some situations, this means that the business wants their implementation partner to allow for changes to the timeline, scope and design;  but increasing the duration of a project increases the cost, adding to or changing the project scope can also increase cost, and both elements increases risk as the business will ultimately have more to manage.

But on the other side of the coin are the businesses who aim to find an implementation partner who will be firmer with deadlines and the scope of the projects. For some, having deadlines set in stone, and go-live dates that won’t change, makes the project easier as it allows decisions to be made according to the plan.

In this case, the best advice would be to go with whichever approach would suit your business best, however, remember that flexibility isn’t always a good thing.

Traditional design and build Vs pre-configured solution

Some implementation partners can offer a ready-made version that can be taken ‘out of the box’ – and while this may be cheaper to purchase and implement, the downside is that the business many need to adapt significantly in order to fit the solution.

It’s worth noting that some software partners must be designed using a ‘traditional’ methodology, which amounts to buying software licenses, designing each module, testing what has been configured, and then deploying the solution. The downside here is that it will take longer and likely to be more costly, however, it is more likely to meet requirements as it’s been designed to be business specific.

In order to find the best fit for each business, the following measures should be considered:

  • Do you follow a fairly standard approach or are you different from other businesses and sectors?
  • Are you looking for a core standard module, or are you looking for multiple modules? Maybe from different software partners.
  • Is your business single country based, or do you have European/Global offices across many countries with different Tax, Legal and Statutory Regulations and Processes?
  • What sort of budget are you working with? What are the drivers for the investment and change?
  • Do you have any systems in place at all; are you starting from scratch or upgrading to something more intricate and configurable? Maybe the latest version of what you have today.


It’s important to work out where you land on these measures, and then find the best partner to work with – this will always be more important than the software itself!

Boutique or big partner?

Generally speaking, the bigger the consultancy, the bigger the cost. It would make sense to go with a boutique based on this alone, but that doesn’t always seem to be the way it happens.

For some business leaders, choosing a big name means a perceived ‘lower risk’, because if something in the project goes wrong, at least they chose a ‘safe’ brand and that aspect of decision making they cannot be held responsible.

But the way we see it is that smaller, more boutique firms have a higher stake in the project because there is more at risk, inevitably they are also more likely to place more experienced resources on your project, rather than flood you with graduate/junior resources. Therefore, smaller businesses tend to have more to lose, and they take extra care to ensure the project is a success, shaping the project for the client’s needs rather than the reverse.

While these are just a few points worth considering, we genuinely believe that the success of any project is much more dependent on the implementation partner, than the software. Using the points, we’ve made to reflect upon your business needs, and what you require from an implementation partner, we believe increase your chances of success.


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