Beware of Roles and Responsibilities in an ERP Implementation

Let’s assume you did a thorough job in evaluating the ERP systems/vendors and are in contract negotiations with the preferred vendor. You will be asked to agree to many things including their assumptions on roles and responsibilities for activities such as testing, integration, documenting business process design… The problem is that you have no idea whether the allocation of activity between the vendor and your organization is reasonable. Unfortunately, you may learn the hard way when the vendor issues change requests (and higher costs) for work that was assumed to be your responsibility but for which you need a lot of help. To reduce this risk, we recommend:

  • Don’t wait until the end of contract negotiations to review the contract and Statement of Work as by then the vendor may not be very motivated to make changes as they have assumed that they have been selected.
  • Get example of deliverables for which you are responsible, so you understand better the scope of work required.
  • Obtain a breakdown of time from the vendor by major task for them and for you.
  • Evaluate whether the time breakdown is reasonable based on a comparison to the schedule, the work defined in the Statement of Work and examples of deliverables.
  • When speaking with references, ask about whether they would change the roles and responsibilities.
  • Share time estimates with employees who have been assigned the major tasks and get their opinion on the amount of time needed. This could be useful if the employees have experience in an ERP implementation.
  • Get guidance from your consultant assuming you have one.
  • Plan for contingency
  • Treat your implementation vendor as a business partner. You need them and they need you. They want you to become a referenceable client rather than a client who is unhappy and shares your opinion of their work with peers. So there should be give and take on both sides.

For more on contract negotiation, see or contact us.