ERP implementation plot twist

Avoiding an Implementation Plot Twist: Beware the ERP Predator

Whether you have kids or just enjoy movies from Disney and Pixar (don’t lie), you’ve probably seen a trend in their story writing over the last decade, the twist villain. The twist villain (surprise antagonist) trope exists when a character is expected to aid the heroes, only to show their true face later in the movie. From Charles Muntz in the movie Up to Hans in Frozen or Lotso in Toy Story 3, these characters were made to subvert expectations.

A well-executed twist villain delivers an exciting surprise for viewers. A poorly executed one was either far-too-obvious, weakly written, or both.

“That’s great and all,” you may be telling yourself, “but what does this have to do with IT services or ERP implementations?” A lot more than you think. ERP implementations are already risky, stress-filled, and costly enough when everything goes smoothly. But now, imagine that the company you trusted to improve your business starts to hit you with surprises, predatory practices, and traps that you weren’t prepared for.

Analyst Report Asks: Partner or Predator?

While this is great for a movie villain, it’s not so great when your ERP vendor or partner—companies you intend to work with for the better part of a decade—flip the script. If your goal is to avoid surprises, you need to be able to tell who’s looking out for your best interests before you even reach Act I.

Luckily, a recent report from Techventive, Inc. set out to show you some of the best and worst practices that potential technology partners may practice so that you can enjoy a plot twist-free ERP project.

Cultural Fit: An Often-Overlooked Factor in ERP Decisions

When you’re looking at ERP, you have a lot of questions to ask. Does the software do what it’s supposed to? Is it easy to learn? Does the vendor put a lot of effort into improving the software? Is it going to help us remain compliant? You might even look at the history and financial stability of the company to know whether they will be around.

Unfortunately, many overlook how a company acts towards its customers, developers, and channel, leaving decision makers blindsided and projects in limbo.

The Face of a Predator

Like the twist villain, the true face never shows until later in the story. In Toy Story 3, Lotso was simply a soft and soft-spoken bear who managed the toys at the daycare—until the truth was revealed that he had a dictatorial rule over the toys. Much like his backstory, your vendor may appear friendly, but deeply rooted in the company culture is a dark truth.

Techventive notes that you should look at the following four areas and ask whether the following are true:

  • Pricing Problems: Is the vendor reluctant to discuss prices until late in the buying cycle? Are the prices only available after signing a non-disclosure agreement? Have customers reported that these prices change frequently—either in the form of insane discounts during the first year, price increases that exceed business growth, or pricing that never seems to come down even if it should?
  • Usage Audit Aggressiveness: Does your vendor aggressively audit its customers’ usage? Many do—and it’s not to protect themselves. In fact, one of the largest vendors has a separate sales unit whose only goal is to push additional products when they see infractions.
  • Contract Confusion: Contracts are essential to the purchase, but not every contract is created equal. Too often, a predatory vendors true colors shine when it’s time to sign—and you’re presented with a hundred-plus page contract rife with ambiguous terms and the right to change their end through unilateral updates.
  • A Legacy of Litigation: Contract lawyers know everything in their contract and put it there for a reason. If a vendor is writing a 100-page contract that is going to change constantly, it exists because of precedent and power. Many clauses were likely added after these companies were sued for their own failures and are used to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Looking at each of the above factors, how many of these are you going to see during the early phases of your selection process? One? You can look up court filings—if the lawsuit didn’t end up getting settled or dismissed in arbitration. The rest only come up after you’ve put hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the selection process.

How to Avoid Becoming Prey

The thing about predators? Their priority is their next meal. These are the kind of companies who want a short-term relationship with your company—but a long-term one with your checkbook. Partners, on the other hand, work hard to prove themselves to you day in and day out.

Whether it’s something as simple as providing transparent pricing in the early stages, writing a service-level agreement that puts customers in control, or has actively built a customer-focused culture, these companies talk the talk and walk the walk.

Acumatica and CCS: Your Partners for the Long Road Ahead

Surprises are great in movies. Conflict is a necessary plot driver, and you pay to see a hero triumph over adversity.

But these are the last things you need in an ERP implementation project. Surprises turn into missed deadlines, cost overruns, and poor performance. Conflict often results in legally binding decisions, and the implementation process itself already gives you enough adversity. An ERP decision is already an exciting time for your firm—you don’t need it to be any more intense than it already is.

If you’re seeking a vendor who walks the walk—and a channel partner who’s committed to delivering on their promises, look no further than Acumatica and CCS Technology Group. When you partner with Acumatica, you know what you’re going to get—it’s enshrined in their Customer Bill of Rights.

When you entrust CCS Technology Group to get you there, you can expect IT support that’s responsive, effective and convenient. After all, technology should make it easier to run your business. We believe in only making promises we can keep, building trust in every interaction, and consistently evolving to better serve you. It’s these core principles that have gotten us here, and these core principles that will help us last for decades to come.

We invite you to download the entire Partner or Predator report here, read about how Acumatica makes good on their promises by reading their Customer Bill of Rights, and get to know about other firms who have made the move.

Contact us to learn more or see a demo of Acumatica.