March 27, 2019

Ask The Experts: When Should We Hire An Implementation Consultant?

Written by
Why is TechnologyAdvice Free?

Your old software doesn’t cut it anymore, and you’re looking for new software that’s right for your business. But all your research tells you that setting up that software in your company is going to be difficult, if not impossible while continuing your current level of productivity.

The software that provides the highest value to companies is often the hardest to implement. Any useful software will bring its own complexity: the need to upload existing data, customize your workflows, and learn the system so you can start using it.

companies should hire a consultant when they lack the experience, skills, or resources to manage the implementation on their own

Also Read: Could Your Company’s HR Department Use A Helping Hand? Here’s When And Why You Should Hire An HRIS Consultant

If this is your first time using a CRM, ERP, or business intelligence tool, you likely don’t have employees with experience using the tool in-house. Or maybe your team has experience using the tool but lacks the skills to port over your customer data from the existing system. Some teams have the experience and skills to get started, but they are too busy on other critical tasks to focus on implementing the new software.

We asked several experts when a company should hire an implementation consultant. David Jackson, CEO of FullStack Labs, sums it up in a few bullet points:

“Generally our clients hire us for software implementations for the following reasons:

  • They don’t have the necessary skill sets in-house, and hiring a full-time employee for the project doesn’t make sense, since the project is of limited duration.
  • Their in-house team does of the necessary skills, but are too busy on other projects and don’t have time for the implementation.
  • They want to bring in an industry expert to help them understand best practices for implementing and utilizing the software for their specific industry or vertical.”

We heard those pain points echoed by each expert — companies should hire a consultant when they lack the experience, skills, or resources to manage the implementation on their own. We’ll let the experts explain.

Hire a consultant when you lack experience

Most companies don’t hire with big software moves in mind, and most employees lack the experience necessary to understand the processes necessary to build, adapt, and implement software. Because a software consultant is an expert in managing the process of implementing a new system, they can spot potential problems and plan for most known problems.

“Businesses looking to roll out new software often fail to understand that there are time-tested processes for building and launching software. Speaking with an experienced technologist should always be the first step – whether that person is in-house or not.

“Companies that don’t have sufficient software expertise in their DNA should get help from an experienced software consultant early and often. It’s simply not reasonable — and unfocused — to expect an existing employee to get up to speed on industry trends, software leaders, and the complex process of implementing custom or off-the-shelf software solutions.

“Unfortunately, many of my clients have attempted to implement new software without any help and now have to hire an outside firm to come in, take over, and clean up a mess — wasting valuable time and money.”
-Andrew Bellay, Innovation Strategist, MetaNeer Labs, Inc

Hire a consultant when you lack skills

You may have a CRM administrator on staff who knows how to customize your CRM software, but do they also know how to migrate and clean databases? Your management team may have experience using the interface of the new system, but do they know how to customize it for your company’s use? A software implementation specialist knows the process end-to-end and has the necessary technical skills for a successful launch.

“Installing a major new software program can be a complex process, especially if there is an existing legacy system. Most “out-of-the-box” software applications usually have to be configured or modified to work to deliver a company’s solution. If it’s custom-built software, then it can be even more complex.

“If the technical expertise is not available in-house or if there is a large learning curve for both implementing and integrating the new application, then hiring a resource with the expertise and experience is advisable.

“When issues arise, it can be difficult and cause delays. Having an experienced resource who understands the internals and knows how to navigate potential software bugs is worth the investment.”
-V. Michael Santoro, Co-Founder, Vaetas, LLC

Hire a consultant when you lack resources

Companies on a limited budget or timeline don’t have the wiggle room to make up for implementation delays by throwing money and people at the problem. An implementation consultant knows the potential resource pitfalls and can give you a reasonable quote based on their experiences.

“While the best answer to this question is ‘it depends,’ as you hear frequently in the consulting world, a safe time that you generally need to hire a software consultant is when you don’t want to bring on full-time employees at your company and you’re not technically savvy enough to manage an outsourced/overseas team of developers.

“While you may be tempted with the cheaper per-hour price of an outsourced dev-team / offshore contingency, I have never seen an inexperienced company successfully get their initial estimate right and they almost always overrun their budget by multiple factors. With a software consultancy, up front, you will be paying a more expensive per-hour price but in the long run, you’ll have a higher quality product that cost less overall to build.”
-David Clark, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, RentMe, LLC

“The other case where companies should strongly consider outside software consultants is when they simply don’t have the human resources internally to manage the rollout of new software. I see this most often in older businesses and universities, both of which are more likely to be on legacy solutions that no longer meet their needs or don’t make sense financially anymore. Trying to migrate huge databases and thousands of reports from one system to another is a huge project that should be left to real experts so that internal IT departments can focus on the more strategic needs of the company.”
-Andrew Bellay, Innovation Strategist, MetaNeer Labs, Inc


We can’t help you implement the software, but TechnologyAdvice has the expertise to help you find the right software according to your needs. Whether you’re looking to upgrade from your existing systems or find new software, you’ll come away with a list of vendors that meets your needs.

All it takes is a five-minute call with our Technology Advisors. Call today at 877.702.2082 or contact us for more information.

Technology Advice is able to offer our services for free because some vendors may pay us for web traffic or other sales opportunities. Our mission is to help technology buyers make better purchasing decisions, so we provide you with information for all vendors — even those that don't pay us.