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ERP Partner vs. ERP Vendor: What's the Difference?

What you need to know about working with an ERP partner vs. an ERP vendor

Is there a difference between an ERP vendor and an ERP partner – or are they interchangeable? What does each bring to the table? These are some questions you might have if you've just begun your ERP selection process. In this article, we help you dig a little further to understand what is an ERP vendor, what is an ERP Partner or Value Added Reseller (VAR), and what they each bring to the table.

Understanding the ERP Vendor

Simply put, the ERP vendor is the company that develops and sells an ERP solution. They are responsible for developing and maintaining the software, including publishing, updating, and fixing bugs. They are also responsible for the rollout of new features and versions of the software.

While some mid-market ERP vendors (Microsoft, for example) sell their software through a partner network, some sell directly to the end customer. But should your company purchase and implement your software directly from an ERP vendor? While it may seem convenient only to have one relationship to manage, it might not be the best idea for several reasons.

For one, the vendor-client relationship is likely to be more transactional than a business partnership. If you have an issue to resolve, you are likely to reach a different consultant each time, who may or may not know about your specific business and project. Vendors may have limited exposure to other third-party solutions or systems that you may need to integrate with your ERP solution. This can become expensive as they involve external contractors. You may also find that they offer limited options for customizing the software to your business – you may have to rework your processes to fit the software or incur higher costs to make it work. Finally, most ERP vendors generally outsource their customer support services. It means that you will be talking with a random executive almost every time you make a call. And second, you may have to explain your requirement and the reason for your call from the top to each executive, who may or may not be competent to provide the resolution you seek.

Understanding the ERP Partner or VAR (Value-Added Reseller)

On the other hand, your ERP partner or VAR (value-added reseller) will help you license, implement, and support your selected ERP software. Typically, ERP partners proceed by understanding your business's nuances and critical processes of your business and then design and implement a solution to fit your business needs. After your go-live, they provide training and support.

To put it simply, think of an ERP vendor as the seller who provides software with default factory settings. In contrast, an ERP partner is someone who customizes software to support your needs and fits it to work within your business. Another point to note is that your ERP partner often manages the relationship between your ERP vendor and providers of any third-party solutions you may have chosen to integrate.

Therefore, working with an ERP partner is far more beneficial for growing businesses with changing needs. And the advantages of having an ERP partner are not limited to the two reasons stated above.

Why Work with an ERP Partner vs. ERP Vendor

They can help you find and address gaps in your selected ERP software

Whichever ERP solution you end up selecting in the end, it is likely that the software will have some gaps in functionality. An ERP partner will understand your business processes and be able to pinpoint and address these gaps in the software, whether that's through a third-party app or a custom workaround.

You can leverage their expertise and experience

An ERP partner or value-added reseller takes a calculated, carefully analyzed approach, understanding your needs before customizing and implementing the ERP solution. They are ERP specialists with the necessary know-how and experience, and deep understanding of your selected ERP solution that you can leverage. You can use their years of experience working with other companies to learn the best ERP practices for enhanced productivity and process efficiency.

They're with you for the long haul

A good ERP partner is there for your long after the go-live date, supports your business over time, and helps you get the most out of your selected ERP solution. As your ERP solution will become the backbone of your business, this kind of support and partnership is vital for long-term success.

Kwixand Solutions Can Help

As a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner and ERP consultancy, Kwixand Solutions helps businesses across Canada and the US digitally transform and thrive. For us, successful digital transformation is much more than just implementing a solution, it's about helping companies achieve their business goals and maximize their ROI. To learn how we can help you, book a consultation with our team today.


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