The objective of this write-up is to discuss the role of an ERP functional consultant in detail.
An ERP functional consultant is required to have a knowhow of the industry for which the ERP package being implemented caters to, clients' business processes, the direction of information flows and a thorough knowledge of the ERP components mimicking the various functions of the client business.
The role of a functional consultant begins at before start of the implementation phase, in order to decide the scope of business functions that the ERP package will implement. He is required to highlight upfront the complications that could occur during implementation. A functional consultant by virtue of his industry experience also plays an imminent role in suggesting improvements that can be made to the current business processes of the client.
Thus the mapping of the business requirements to the ERP package technical requirements to form the requirements matrix is presided over by the functional consultant.
A functional consultant also plays a part in the designing and documenting the business function implementation. He is instrumental in making the technical ERP expertise stay aligned with the exact functionality as required by the client.
A functional consultant works along with the technical team in analyzing and documenting the gaps between the clients' legacy systems and the proposed enterprise resource planning implementation.
During the implementation of the ERP system, a functional consultant is required to step at any points where complications arise and the technical team deems some functionality infeasible to implement. Here the functional consultant is required to discuss with the technical team and the business team of the client to come to an agreement over the revised scope of implementation. This also ensures that the implementation does not stray away from the primary business objectives till the completion of the project.
Once the implementation of the package is completed, the functional consultant is required to provide test scripts in order to thoroughly validate the business components of the ERP package. This plays an important role in making sure that all the happy path and complex functions of the system are well tested, so the end package is robust.
An ERP package strives to provide a platform to integrate all the business functions of a client and to facilitate seamless information flows between these functions. It tries to mimic as much as possible the original state of matters that existed in the client's business chain before the enterprise resource planning package came along. This maintains the user's confidence level and helps in smoother migration and learning for the old timers within the clients' organization. However no system can perfectly fit in the existing business practices of the organization. Besides there is a conscious attempt to also improve the business practices in order to make the system more lubricated and efficient.
It is the responsibility of the users of the new package to appreciate this fact and they have to work with implementation consultants to adapt to the package. Thus in order to facilitate a smooth and hiccup-free transition to the new system a consultant plays a very useful role. The consultants by virtue of their industry experience and package expertise are required to step in and set the expectations of the users at various levels, keeping in mind the various business objectives of the client.
Thus the functional consultants play a very vital role throughout the ERP package implementation.