It’s imperative that businesses adding ERP solutions for the first time or moving from a legacy platform to a more modern one trust their ERP partner. The changes involved in adopting a new ERP solution are so major and the process so complex that anything less than a fully positive and communicative relationship between a company and its partner can easily lead to major problems.

The need for a trustworthy ERP partner means organizations have to take on the task of vetting potential providers until they can determine which are suitable for the role. Asking the right questions and understanding the responses is a critical element of such an effort. Here’s a look at some key questions to ask potential ERP partners before committing to a project:

What opportunities does the solution offer for improving efficiency and streamlining operations?
This question, originally shared by ERP Cloud News, highlights the transformative nature of ERP. Each ERP implementation involves major and minor changes to workflows and the way organizations do business. Based on the opportunities identified, existing systems, the sentiment of project leaders and many other factors, there are plenty of possible avenues for implementation. A prospective partner that can highlight these chances for improvement and explain the reasoning behind those choices to the implementation team demonstrates a high level of knowledge and ability.

How can we integrate some or all of our existing systems with the solution?
Replacing current, efficient and well-understood systems with a new piece of functionality inside an ERP solution isn’t always the best choice. There are many instances where an existing component offers unique benefits that ERP solutions and add-ons can’t easily replicate. Businesses that have such software in place are sometimes better off integrating that system into the larger solution. Of course, integration also offers a number of functional benefits, like eliminating the need for multiple rounds of data entry and duplicate work. As the ERP Software Blog said, asking this question early helps a business understand their partner’s short- and long-term capabilities.

What level of training assistance do you provide?
Training and staff adoption are two critical components in an ERP project’s success. While encouraging adoption is mainly a concern for business leaders and the ERP implementation team, partners play a larger role in training efforts. A partner that has gone through the process before and understands how to efficiently educate new users and share information in a way that maximizes its impact is a major asset. When employees don’t have a good handle on how to complete day-to-day tasks through a new ERP solution, even the most relevant implementation of a platform expressly geared toward’s a business’s individual needs won’t provide many benefits.

How will ongoing support be structured after the implementation is complete?
Support for an ERP solution after it’s first installed is a critical consideration for businesses of all types. A partner that provides a top-notch implementation quickly stops being so valuable if it doesn’t also support an organization’s efforts to use the platform in the future. A truly effective partner will be in contact in the days and weeks after an implementation, when unforeseen issues and concerns may pop up. Such a partner will also be available and ready to communicate when updates and upgrades for the chosen ERP solution are available, making that part of the process more manageable for organizations.

Asking questions before a project formally begins helps businesses pick the best ERP partner possible. Consider these queries as you start the selection process.