ERP Consulting: How To Become an ERP Consultant
Children are frequently asked what they’d like to be when they grow up, and the common answers are ‘mommy’, ‘teacher’, ‘school bus driver’, ‘trash collector’, etc. since these are occupations that children are aware of.
If you are reading this, you may have a ‘secret’ desire to be an ERP consultant. So, let’s talk about it! How do you become an ERP consultant? Why would you want to be an ERP consultant? What are the qualifications? What kind of money can you make? What are the non-monetary rewards? What are the downfalls?
First of all, to do this, just like anything else, you need passion. You need to LOVE working in ERP, despite the frustrations, throwing errors that you don’t understand, and banging your head against the wall. Your love for ERP needs to be far greater than your level of pain and frustration. And, keep in mind that being an ERP consultant is really a ‘people job’ – you will be working with users of ERP systems. The system may be working exactly as programmed, but your job is really working with people to help them understand and be able to make the system work. You might be able to ‘make the system talk’, but your best effort is only as good as your worst student.
What Do ERP Consultants Do?
As a consultant, you need to be able to quickly ‘read’ the people you’re working with and adjust your approach to make things work. Some people just work slower than others. Others will ask endless questions about everything you’ve said to them. Others will listen, and then Google what you’ve instructed them on, and come back saying ‘it doesn’t say to do that online’. Those are times when you might be tempted to close your laptop for good, but just remember this one thing: “The software works; it’s the people we have difficulty with.”
If you haven’t been scared off yet, let’s talk about qualifications. Remember that your resume needs to be impressive enough to impress your customer on paper to begin with. At EpiCenter, our minimum requirements are a B.S. in business or engineering, 5-10 years of ERP experience in Epicor, and direct experience with at least 2-3 implementations. You may be a self-taught awesome ERP ‘guru’ and we will certainly entertain your candidacy, but remember that customers will want to see formal education with serious experience. And, if anything trumps anything else, it’s experience. If you have worked in all aspects of the software for years, and love to put it through its paces, you will likely be a good consultant.
The biggest benefit of ERP consulting is the satisfaction of helping people and companies meet their goals. We do ‘stretch’ the customers (some more than others ), and there are frustrating long nights trying to make things work, but on the whole, it’s a blast. It is fun and challenging to see new customers, and greatly satisfying to see them come together as a team, and achieve their goals!!
The one HUGE drawback, however, is dreaded travel. In post-Covid days, there isn’t quite as much travel, but you should be prepared for 2-3 nights a week to be away from home each week. If you have young children or a spouse that you really love, this can be an issue and is likely the single biggest reason for consultants leaving us.
However, once you’ve been on the road for 6 months, you’ll be ‘travel hardened’. It seems fun and exciting at first but can become frustrating, exhausting, and mentally draining. Your schedule won’t be yours to determine – it will be up to the airlines, ride share/rental car companies, etc., and it depend on how remote your customers are. Most ERP customers are not conveniently located in easy-to-find places, and it’s common to fly somewhere, have multiple connections, and then drive a few hours once you land. Be prepared!
How To Become an ERP Consultant with EpiCenter
Now, with all this being said, if you’re interested and have Epicor experience, EpiCenter is always interested in recruiting new staff. In some cases, you may not be quite ready, and you may want some help in filling out your resume, but feel free to contact us. Our philosophy is to build long-term relationships with our team members, and sometimes they need to take breaks. If you have ‘the right stuff’, we’ll do everything we can to ‘make it happen’.
written by Jeffrey W. Glaze, President