Leveraging Third-Party Consultants to Optimize Cloud-Based ERP Deployment Strategies

The number of companies rolling out cloud-based ERP deployments continues to increase in the Bay Area. Here’s why you should consider leveraging a third-party consultant to assist you throughout your deployment.

By: Ryan Tweedy and Jeff DeHart, Managing Directors, DeWinter Technology

In 2012 20% of ERP software sales were cloud-based. In 2014 it was projected this number would increase to a minimum of 39% by 2018. [1] Today we are facing the reality that cloud-based ERP deployments are not going anywhere. As the wave of first movers implementing cloud-based ERP solutions winds down, larger companies in the Bay Area have now begun to embrace the future of ERP as vendors begin phasing out their legacy service offerings.  Well-known ERP vendors continue to roll-out and promote flagship cloud-based products such as SAP S4HANA, Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Infor Cloud. As a result, we have begun to see a shift in demand for consultants skilled in traditional legacy ERP system deployments to those with technical, strategic expertise pertaining to cloud-based systems.

What’s fueling interest in cloud-based ERP systems with Bay Area employers?

Until now many companies have utilized on-premise ERP’s for a variety of reasons. Many large ERP’s had yet to develop comparable cloud-based ERP solutions, and as a result the risk of migrating their ERP’s to new cloud-based solutions and vendors presented too many unknown variables. Therefore, the risk outweighed any potential benefit. ERP migrations are also expensive and introduce disruption making it painful for employees who oppose change.

Despite their immaturity, cloud-based solutions have begun to gain momentum as a result of their growing track record of success. They require a lower TCO, are easily scalable to grow with your business, are compliant with modern security standards such as PCIDSS, and are just as secure (if not more secure) than legacy systems. There are no upfront hardware costs, no on-site server space required, employees aren’t needed to maintain them, and no extensive on-site disaster recovery plans to worry about. These are now the responsibility of the vendor.

3 Ways to Leverage Third-Party Consultants Throughout Your Cloud-Based ERP Deployment

If you work in technology or have participated in assisting with ERP system implementations or migrations in the past, you know that identifying an ERP software solution which caters to your organization’s specific needs is no simple task. Decision makers are not only faced with evaluating the total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI), they also are responsible for weighing the advantages and disadvantages pertaining to flexibility, usability, and security for each potential solution. This is a huge effort which consumes large amounts of time and resources within your organization. Here are three ways you can effectively leverage third-party consultants to augment your team’s efforts and gain valuable insight each step of the way.

Informed Cloud-Based ERP Vendor Selection

If you are considering migrating to a cloud-based ERP solution or have already initiated the process, you may be asking yourself, “Am I or have I chosen the right vendor?”  The options are endless. Vendors range from medium-sized SaaS companies to well-known ERP giants. Evaluating each vendor is an extensive process and presents a learning curve when evaluating the benefits and costs associated with each.

As a result of a consultant’s expertise and previous experience working with various cloud-based ERP implementations, they have an in-depth understanding of existing solutions’ functionalities, limitations, and costs. This thereby reduces the amount of time your internal team would otherwise be spending vetting each solution. It additionally adds a secondary level of proactive oversight to prevent roadblocks and additional expenses later on down the line.

Development of Effective, Proven Roll-Out Strategies

In addition to assisting with the selection of cloud-based ERP solutions, third-party consultants can also prove extremely beneficial during the roll-out and implementation strategy development phase. Consultants provide unbiased and experienced insight. Whereby vendors and representatives of vendors oftentimes make recommendations which are self-serving, consultants are ultimately responsible for understanding your needs and working on your behalf with the selected vendor to ensure a smooth and effective implementation.  They have taken part in past implementations. They know what works and can identify red flags in a company’s roll-out strategy by leveraging their own past experiences.

Experienced On-Boarding

Lastly, the third way in which you can leverage third-party consultants to ensure an effective and “less” costly implementation (yes, believe it or not consultants present many economies of scale) is during the actual implementation of the selected cloud-based ERP system. During the roll-out phase it becomes an “all hands on deck” ordeal. System implementations generate internal pressure points amongst staff. Bringing in a third-party consultant gives you access to an experienced hand which can augment training efforts with best practices to prevent disruption amongst employees.

If you are interested in learning more regarding our services or a cloud-based implementations specialist, contact a member of our DeWinter Technology team! To learn more, visit us online at