One of the top challenges facing ERP software consultants is how to keep up to date with the latest functionality and best practice. With vendors releasing new versions of their applications every 18 to 24 months, it’s very easy for consultants to fall behind in their understanding of what’s available.
As a result, clients can be misinformed about the options available to them, software configuration can be sub-optimal, and businesses can miss out on the full commercial benefit available from their investment in ERP applications.
Investing to keep consultant knowledge current
As a provider of experts in Infor M3 and IFS software, Anthesis does all it can to ensure consultants’ knowledge is kept as current as possible. One way of achieving this is by providing test environments in the latest applications—working versions of the software that consultants can explore for themselves.
Full access to the M3 and IFS applications is a privilege of being a formal service partner with the software vendors. But not all partners choose to invest in creating and maintaining operational versions of the software.
Anthesis has set up these working versions because we recognise the importance of hands-on learning for our consultants. By effectively creating play areas, or sandboxes as they’re known, consultants can experiment with new functionality and model potential solutions, both theoretical and based on real client issues.
Without this hands-on knowledge, a consultant’s understanding is limited to what they learned on training courses and from the versions of the applications that they have worked with over the years. For many, this training and experience is not on the current versions.
Old knowledge can weaken commercial advantage
The risks of working with a consultant who lacks up-to-date knowledge of the ERP software they are working with can include:
- - The benefits of new functionality are overlooked.
- - Current best practice is not implemented.
- - Training and knowledge transfer by the consultant embeds this out-of-date knowledge into the business.
All of these risks can lead to a business not making best use of the software in which it has invested, with the potential of higher costs and lower productivity. While most ERP consultants want to do the best job that they can, many literally don’t know what they don’t know. Their decisions and advice, though based on sound experience, may not reflect current options and thinking.
Flexible approach to updating knowledge
Providing software sandboxes for consultants is only one part of the ongoing knowledge transfer process. As partners with Infor and IFS, Anthesis consultants also have access to the latest training materials and courses, many of which are delivered online.
The consultants also have access to the support teams within the software vendor, allowing them to ask questions and seek solutions. By making best use of the resources available to them, Anthesis consultants remain at the leading edge of software product knowledge and industry best practice.