Selecting the right JD Edwards partner for foreign rollouts (1 of 2)
The world economy is globalizing at an increasingly faster pace. To guarantee growth, many companies are having to expand internationally. Companies are setting up or buying factories and offices in unfamiliar countries wherethey may not speak the language, or be familiar with local rules, laws and idiosyncrasies. Besides the commercial and cultural challenges, they also need to overcome numerous obstacles in their IT arrangements, with ERP being a key concern.
Choosing the right JD Edwards implementation partner can help ensure smooth and efficient rollouts. But how can you be sure you’re making the right choice? In this 2-part series, we’ll discuss what you should look out for when choosing a partner, and the questions your team should consider when developing a shortlist.
Part 1 – Will you implement foreign rollouts yourself or outsource?
One of the first decisions that must be taken when rolling out JD Edwards internationally is whether you will do it yourself, possibly deploying a number of local resources, or will you outsource it completely? And will you outsource it to a local company or to an international partner? Several different scenarios are possible:
Do it yourself! A company can decide to implement a JD Edwards system itself in an unknown country but this option is considered risky. A JD Edwards implementation requires a wealth of specific knowledge, so the first question is whether this knowledge is available in the organization and whether the people who have this knowledge can set aside their existing work to implement the rollout? This latter point is particularly important to consider when multiple sites are involved, you need to make sure that you can deploy these people for a long time.
One advantage of this method is that your own employees are already familiar with the system and they know the organization through and through and any knowledge gained during the implementation, stays inside your organization.
But there are also disadvantages. Implementing and localizing JD Edwards takes a huge amount of time and it can be expensive to have your own people travel all over the world. Moreover, communicating effectively with end-users in foreign countries may be challenging due to language and cultural differences. To realize a successful project, it is crucially important that the end-users are involved in the implementation.
Lastly, different countries and regions have specific requirements for business reporting, so a good knowledge of JD Edwards localization is necessary to comply with those requirements. You must consider if your own team has level of this knowledge.
2. Implementation by initial partner
Employ the JD Edwards partner who performed the initial JDE implementation for the rollouts in new countries. The advantage here is that the partner is familiar with the company, the processes and the working method. However, if the partner only has a branch in their home country, will they have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of local requirements? The partner’s knowledge of the laws and regulations could be limited, and communication with end-users and the local IT team could also pose problems.
3. Outsource to a local partner
Engage a local ‘on-the-ground’ company to fully implement the entire rollout in each country. The main advantage of this option is that local parties are familiar with the laws and regulations of their countries and speak the end-users’ language(s).
In addition, depending on the country, the rates are more likely to be favorable and you won’t have to pay travel and accommodation costs for consultants flying in from other countries. It sounds trivial, but these costs can really mount up. The disadvantage though, is the local company’s minimal knowledge of your organization and its original rollout. You will also need to consider if employing different local partners in each region will be draining on your own time and resources, from a cost, methodology and project management point of view.
4. Outsource to an international partner
Companies can outsource the rollout of JD Edwards over various sites to an international partner. These types of partners have branches in several countries with JD Edwards consultants who are specialized in international rollouts and localizations.
Good international partners share their knowledge internally, so experience with the first rollout and any relevant business information about their client can be used strategically in subsequent foreign rollouts. In addition, local consultants should have a good knowledge of the local laws and regulations and speak the language of the end-users. Apart from the obvious benefits of this to project success, it also means that travel and accommodation costs can be reduced.
5. Hybrid model
Lastly, use your own team and supplement it with some local partners. For example: the original implementation consultants fly to the new country and use their knowledge and experience to implement the rollout. They then call in one or more local consultants to help with local requirements. That way, the knowledge that was accumulated when the “core model” was rolled out in the home country is used directly.
A potential disadvantage of this model is that the consultants may not speak the local language or be familiar with the culture. And that is very useful when you sit around the table with end-users to find out what they want to do with the software and how it can help them. This is one area where relying on local consultants is important.
Pros & cons of different JD Edwards partner options
How many locations will be included?
The choice of partner you make largely depends on the number of sites to be rolled out. If you want to implement the rollout in just one country, the hybrid model can be a good solution, where you work with your own internal team and one local resource for example.
But if multiple countries are involved, we recommend looking for a partner who is active in those countries and has a standardized methodology. Not only will the partner have local knowledge and experience with international rollouts and localizations, but by avoiding multiple local partners, you won’t need to enter into multiple contracts and will be assured that projects will follow one methodology.
Is a standardized project methodology used?
If choosing a single international partner, it’s important to confirm that their local teams all work under the same project methodology. Having a standardized process and using the same tools, means that it is easy to find, understand and exchange information during every phase of a project. This keeps miscommunication to a minimum, and because the work gets done more efficiently, total hours worked and the costs of the projects should be lower in the long-term.
Next blog we’ll discuss the selection process for the right partner for a JD Edwards project. What must you look out for when searching for a partner to help you implement the project successfully?
Author: Bart Dix, Key Account Director at Redfaire International