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Contractors vs permanent employees: who to choose for your ERP projects?


There are many things to consider when starting an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project. Hiring managers often have to decide between hiring for permanent roles or recruiting contractors for the project. Here, we explore how their unique skills and responsibilities can impact your ERP implementation.

ERP implementations are complex and not without business risks. The primary reasons for ERP implementation success are connected to people and processes: it isn’t just the software. So, hiring the right professionals is crucial for your project's success.

Hiring contractors

Contractors perform a task or project under the client’s direct supervision. The client manages the contractor’s work risks, including quality assurance, deadlines for delivery, and performance management.

Contractors often bring fresh perspectives to a project. External resources might have new ideas, methodologies, or approaches that internal teams won’t have considered. These professionals bring specialised skills and experience. ERP contractors are likely to be seasoned professionals. Often, they have worked on a variety of ERP implementation projects and have vast experience from different assignments. They can reveal how other businesses have solved the same or similar problems. This can lead to faster and more efficient implementations.

In-house staff working on your ERP project may lack this knowledge, especially if they have not worked on similar projects.

ERP contractors will have a stronger understanding of specific ERP solutions. They might specialise in generic ERP systems like SAP S/4HANA, Oracle Cloud Fusion, Workday and Microsoft Dynamics D365. Some ERP contractors will have worked with industry-specific ERP systems.

Their diverse experiences working with different organisations and industries can help identify opportunities for improvement and innovation. This leads to enhanced outcomes and solutions. It is worth noting that contractors are not always focused on business outcomes, like invested permanent staff or in-house support. Contractors will, however, focus on delivering their particular assignment to specification.

ERP projects are always subject to change. It is common for timelines to shift, and there might be downtime when project elements aren’t ready. This sometimes leads to paying for “idle” contractor time, whereas a permanent worker can assist with other areas of IT for the business or work on different projects.

Recruiting permanent hires

Permanent hires can develop a long-term commitment to the company and its ERP system. This ensures ongoing support, troubleshooting, and continuous improvement. Permanent employees become familiar with the company’s ERP system and processes over time. They contribute to building a cohesive and collaborative team environment. This leads to better communication, trust, and teamwork. All can enhance the success of ERP projects.

The hiring process for permanent staff can be time-consuming and costly. Many skilled IT professionals are already working, so there may be a need to source passive candidates. There is a risk that the new hires may not fit with the company culture or meet performance expectations. NU Concept Solutions selects experts for their soft skills and company fit as well as their skills and experience.

Using your in-house employees

In-house staff have a solid understanding of the company’s processes and culture. This can lead to more tailored and effective ERP solutions. People who have worked for many years in the organisation will have a much better idea of what may work and what may not. There is also no-one better to document business processes than a business analyst from the in-house team. However, in-house tech teams, alone, may lack specialised skills or experience with the latest ERP technologies. This can limit the project’s scope and success.

Putting a skilled ERP team together

Choosing the right type of ERP professionals is based on company needs and project goals.

Understanding the differences between the skill sets of each type of worker, can help you make informed decisions and ensure successful ERP implementations.

A strong ERP team will make valuable contributions. Ensure your team is balanced and includes different roles, functions, and perspectives. You will likely recruit a project manager, business analysts, architects and implementation and technical experts.

Successful ERP projects need skilled and diverse teams that can work together. Whether hiring contractors or permanent employees, ensure they have:

  • Relevant skills and industry experience
  • Knowledge of the chosen ERP system
  • Understanding of the business processes

ERP freelance experts, recruits, and in-house staff can help identify risks and navigate common challenges.

Wrapping it up: key takeaways for successful ERP staffing

To increase project success, organisations must have a clear vision, select the right vendor, and resource the right team, whether permanent, contractors, in-house employees or a combination of all three.

Having the right, skilled resources is fundamental. There are advantages offered by all worker types. The good news is that there is room for everyone in ERP resourcing. High-performing ERP teams usually consist of vendor consultants, contractors, recently recruited permanent staff, and some seconded in-house employees.

Choosing the right vendor and assigning a solid transformation project team increases the chances of success, so take time to plan and build your ERP project team.

If you’re looking for skilled ERP professionals to fuel your digital transformation projects, contact NU Concept Solutions today. Let us help you build a dynamic team to harness the potential of ERP and drive your business forward.