“John, I only want real experts!” Words coming from a CEO of a large international organization. “Yeah sure”, I thought to myself, “me too”. “Who wouldn’t want that?” Later that day, driving home, slowing down for the somehow always present traffic-jam, my mind couldn’t let go of his words. Because how do you, as CEO facing strategic choices about ERP and its accompanying big budgets, determine who the real expert is?
I looked it up, checked the dictionary and there are quite a few definitions for the word expert, however in general, this is pretty much it: “a person having a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular subject”. That particular subject matter, in this case, is ERP. But for the CEO that’s too broad. So we drilldown: an expert in SAP MM, Dynamics AX Trade & Logistics or Oracle Finance. Because that’s the guy you need, right?
For sure no Junior, still wet behind his or her ears, evangelizing you how the stuff works and how you, as a company, should adhere. Or even worse: the overall generalist who knows nothing at all besides babbling broad terms like methodology, milestones, Out of Scope, FD’s/TD’s and so on. Mmmmmmm, well, I don’t know…..
ERP suppliers and their implementation partners have their own thoughts about who is the expert. Some use standard certifications and others may include implementations or seniority years. Fact is that I have seen young people, few years out of school, who just got back from their certification exam, picking up new business cards as Senior Expert (!). Because they had passed an exam. That, in my humble opinion, is just so wrong, not done, and should be against the law.
Simple fact is that all ERP vendors and their partners pride themselves in having these experts and expertise onboard their organization. Why? Because that is one of the major USP’s to help win the deal. So we need those experts! And here we are, right back at the start of this story……
About 20 minutes and a lot of stop-and-go later, both traffic and my mind started clearing. I was daydreaming about how exactly I became a professional in this mesmerizing trade of ERP. Good memories of solid studying, exciting implementations, and sincere conversations with passionate professionals all came by like a movie. And of course, the mistakes you’ve made. Lots of them. Who you’ll for sure avoid next time. Wooo, close call…almost hit the car in front of me.
Do it a lot, for a long time – learn and keep learning – adapt and except that things will not be exactly as you would want them to be. I guess this combination sounds right to me.
Now, here’s the pitch: I believe that becoming, and staying, an expert requires constant reflection. So please, my dear fellow ERP experts, help me out: What, in your own eyes and words, makes someone an expert?