JD Edwards Consultants

How Do I Find the Right One?

Hiring the right JDE consultant is no easy task. Historically, many JDE customers have trusted their implementation partner to provide all the consultants for them. However, in recent years, we've seen a trend where JDE customers are more heavily involved in searching for and evaluating the consultants that wind up on their projects. That's a good trend. It makes sense to interview any consultants who set foot on your project prior to their official engagement. No matter how much you trust your implementation partner, a good fit is a delicate chemistry that is best decided by the customer.

Let's assume you are looking to hire an independent consultant onto your project and you are not relying on your implementation partner to find this person for you. How do you find the right person? A good starting point is the realization that application and technical skills are just the beginning of what makes a good JDE consultant. Yes, you will want an expert to help you evaluate the JDE-related skills of any individual you hire, but that's just the beginning. It's also good to realize that resumes don't tell the full story and some charming folks can blow you away in interviews and underwhelm you once they are hired. These are the dreaded "interview specialists."

Firms like ours (JDEtips, Inc.) have a reputation for providing excellent independent resources. All of the personnel who teach our private or public classes spend 80% of their time implementing JD Edwards. The best independent consultants leave behind a track record of successful, referenceable projects. Reading articles published in the JDEtips Journal and getting to know those consultants better is another helpful strategy. The best consultants are trusted advisors, so it makes sense that they would develop an industry reputation you can verify through various means. It's never been easier to do that than it is now.

A typical consulting hire should have multiple interviews. It may not be logistically feasible to bring the consultant onsite, but the ideal hiring scenario is:

1. Develop a small pool of pre-screened consultants via job postings, resume screenings, and personal referrals.

2. Conduct a technical "phone screen" of the best three or four applicants. This phone screen should be conducted by someone who is senior in the area you are hiring in. For example, to hire a JDE Financials consultant, arrange to have a Financials expert (one of your own Accounting employees, or another IT staffer who is familiar with JDE Financials) do a phone screen of that person. Even if your staff lacks technical knowledge in the area you need help in, go ahead and pose 'what-if' questions to probe how a consultant would approach your particular project. At the same time, you need to realize that consultants might be wary of a client that is trying to get a lot of 'free' information, so if that appears to be an issue, ask about other areas related to (but different from) your project.

3. Once you have one or two finalists, consider bringing them onsite for an interview with your IT management and JDE project team. Pay close attention to the style of the consultant - are they good at understanding your requirements, or are they more interested in impressing you with their expertise? Can they speak to your company's business goals and what is possible, and what is not, in their area of JD Edwards? Do they get along with your team? Do they have the 'right' attitude when it comes to knowledge transfer, or are they looking at this opportunity as a way to bill you for a long, long time?

If you can't bring the person onsite ahead of time, a video or phone interview can accomplish some of the same objectives.

Hiring good consultants is more of an art than a science, and no one bats 1000. In my view, trying to turn this type of hiring into a science, either by requiring certain degrees or certifications, is not a winning approach. The right approach is:

1. Develop a network of consultants using your JDEtips advisory resources, plus online tools like LinkedIn and JDEtips Knowledge Express. Expand that network continuously, not just when you are looking to hire.

2. Have a trusted resource or partner help you technically qualify any skills you are not confident in qualifying in-house.

3. Look for this great combination: extensive JDE field experience and "team comfort level." This way, hiring excellent JD Edwards consultants becomes a mix of seeking out those with mastery and trusting your gut feel about which consultants will gel with and transfer knowledge to your team.

To find out how JDEtips JD Edwards Consulting can help you succeed, contact Sales at JDEtips dot com.
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