There’s certainly no shortage of vendors with proven enterprise resource planning software to help connect business operations, but for midmarket companies with strict budgets and limited staff resources, ERP implementation and migration can be make-or-break career moves for CIOs.

Last week, several executives from a variety of national and international industry verticals gathered to discuss recent migrations and impending partnerships with service contract providers.

Midmarket CIO Forum Advisory Board members Gary Flowers, CIO, ZeroChaos and Jeff Young, VP & CIO, Haynes International, each shared their journeys to Microsoft Dynamics AX for their global firms.

Gary Flowers

Gary Flowers

Explosive global growth at ZeroChaos, a provider of workforce management solutions, prompted a migration from Microsoft Dynamics GP to Dynamics AX.

Flowers said while there’s no shortage of value added resellers (VARs) offering services, it was important for his team to diligently vet prospective integration partners to ensure the right organizational fit with minimal interruptions.

“We get caught up in the software, but at the end of the day, it’s about picking the right partner with the right expertise and having the right people in place to get through the migration successfully,” Flowers shared. “We’re still managing some little hiccups with the modules, but now ZeroChaos has one ERP for our global organization.”

AKA Enterprise Solutions helped ZeroChaos best leverage Dynamics AX for multi-currency management that improved reporting and local statutory items on a scale to suit the organization’s needs.

Jeff Young

Jeff Young

Young echoed Flowers’ sentiments that identifying the correct implementation partner is crucial. Crowe Horwath assisted Haynes International’s initial ERP implementation in 1998, so their understanding of the specialty metals business and it’s unique financial management system offered a natural fit for multi-platform consolidation.

“Our internal project team didn’t have anyone from IT on the steering committee,” Young noted. “That should be composed primarily of super users. We actually took one superintendent off the floor for an entire year so we could help production become completely paperless.”

Bob Leek, Deputy CIO for Multnomah County, Oregon discussed his organization’s imminent migration to Rimini Street to service SAP contracts.

His biggest challenge was clearly communicating to the case to the business that Rimini could deliver better service at half the cost of current SAP contracts.

“We’ll still receive regulatory and compliance updates like tax tables and payroll withholding, but capabilities to access new enhancements will be frozen,” Leek said. “This will enable budget previously allocated for support contracts to build out necessary changes to our SAP ecosystem into the best future state for our organization.”