Posted by Trey Johnson on 07 August 2020
“Like a marathon runner prepared on the starting line?” That is how one ZAP Partner described their preferred way to start ERP implementations and upgrades. I had not given it much thought but given my forever focus on data, I had to parallel this thought in a blog about where Partners should really begin with new ERP implementations and upgrades.
(Read the previous post in this partner blog series here: "6 Reasons To Become a ZAP Sales Partner: #4 New Revenue from Old Customers")
Many of these correlations have been borne out of our own experiences with organizations deploying new ERPs as our ZAP Data Hub software is so often sold with new Dynamics, Sage, SAP Business One, and SYSPRO ERP purchases.
So, imagine your partner organization is forever the marathon runner trying to ensure you arrive at the starting line focused, with high energy and certainly not already winded. Our experience tells us, not all partners arrive here easily or avoid getting winded early in the “marathon”.
Our experience also tells us few partners think about all the assets they have available to them, so we decided to shine a focus on the role ZAP Data Hub (and Automated Data Warehousing) can play in making all of your next ERP implementations and upgrades, as smooth as possible.
So often ERP projects get underway and a marriage between a company’s current business processes and what is enabled in the ERP is attempted. It can be awkward and it can be flawed. But what if you chose a different way to be prepared?
“Everyone comes from somewhere” is quite true in the ERP world. A tool like ZAP Data Hub enables the connection between the old ERP data (the place your customer came from) and the new ERP (the place your customer is going). So, imagine FIRST delivering reports, analytics or even basic insights with a company’s current data, in their future analytical tool, to uncover a whole host of business requirements and not too obvious business practices . You know, the kind of things which get overlooked with limited conference room pilots or reduced scope departmental deployments, when too often the ERP participants get “winded”.
Providing access to the original data early means you are delivering something of value QUICKLY your customer (and yourselves). Time can be spent understanding key elements about the customer in a few report development cycles and ensuring the customer gets to retain their data, without a limited use migration, when moving to the new ERP.
Now, on top of all of this, imagine having given them exposure to an analytical toolset in advance of the ERP being deployed. Might just be the thing to energize your customer to run along with you!
If you want to finish the race strong, the best bet is to use the buddy system. There is no greater companion for the race to a new ERP than to be able to look beside you at the way data accumulates in the original ERP. Some of the processes will be a bit different but you should be able to explain the data differences as a result of moving to a new process or upgrading the ERP. If you are trying to recreate a process which ultimately generates data, having an automated data warehouse which supports bringing in the OLD and the NEW data means you can keep pace and refrain from getting burnt out by expensive validation “pit stops”.
Over the course of your journey with your customer, your race might take you to a variety of different “destinations”. Similarly, as ERPs increasingly move to the cloud, there are some pretty big variations between the old, On Prem ERP road and the new road of working “In the Cloud”.
ZAP Data Hub has you covered in these situations as we support purely cloud scenarios, purely on-premises scenarios and the hybrid scenario of an organization’s data originating from both places. Our data gateway affords the ability to easily connect to geographically dispersed data which means you, and your customer, have the latitude to race at your own pace.
Unlike a marathon, the ERP race
does not really abruptly end nor as a partner should you want it to end.
The presence of an Automated Data Warehouse solution like ZAP Data Hub, which works with so many ERPs and other data sources means the data achievements along the way can be retained. Based on our experience, this retention of data is very COMFORTING for CFOs and those tasked with continuity through the upgrade. They do not have to worry at all about the road behind them and can focus exclusively on the final push, while ultimately being able to talk with your company much more freely about the road ahead.
Just like running a marathon is often rewarded, the reward for the partner who chose to include ZAP Data Hub or other Automated Data and Analytics during the race is being able to “continue the race”.
At the conclusion of the ERP implementation, a well thought out and inclusive data strategy means the partner will have brought value to the project early and throughout. It also means they would have thought out how to achieve service outcomes ($$$$) for themselves by providing consulting /solutions to data from the very beginning and, after the typical ERP timeline, they will have earned the right to help the customer post go-live with Analytic requirements and pulling data from other sources.
(Want to continue reading? Check out the next and final post in this partner blog series here: "6 Reasons To Become a ZAP Sales Partner: #6 Make Cloud Part of the Conversation")
Trey is Chief Evangelist and leader of ZAP’s Americas business with a background of 25 years working with SQL Server and Microsoft Data Platform technologies. His other roles include being an industry speaker, published author, Board Member of the PASS organization, member of Microsoft’s Advisory Councils and community enthusiast for the last two decades.
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