For a long time, the EHR has been the focus of the healthcare IT world. Now, EHRs have mostly been implemented nationwide, and most providers are not going to go through all the hassle and expense of putting in a different EHR. Instead, providers are looking at other pieces of software that can help them be more efficient. ERP software, especially now that it is going to the cloud, is a good example; it can help boost operational efficiency if an ERP system is implemented in the right way.
Many providers already have ERP systems, but the systems are old, and providers haven’t done much with those solutions. And with shrinking margins in healthcare and providers having to meet more quality and cost measures, organizations just want more visibility into their operations.
In a recent report, KLAS looked at which ERP implementation partners are hitting the mark for their providers.
Making the Right Choice
A large part of the report is intended to help providers choose the right implementation partner. We look at two factors: what organizations are capable of on their own, and the complexity of the implementation project. For example, a 5,000-bed organization is much more likely to have a bigger lift than a 250-bed organization. Part of the report walks through some of the pros and cons of picking each type of firm or software vendor.
If an organization excels at change management, bringing in an ERP software vendor might be a great option. You can see the overall services performance scores of several vendors from the implementation snapshot. It’s pretty clear there that Premier does well, but it is worth noting that they are also a consulting firm that implements only their own software, and lacks an HR module.
Beyond using a software vendor, we outlined three other options. If an organization has a really complex project, they will want to bring in a more comprehensive firm for ERP business transformation and implementation leadership. Implementation Leadership Firms are good options for moderately complex projects that may need a larger lift than a staffing firm can provide, but don’t have the complexity of the really large projects. Finally, ERP staffing firms are great for organizations that need only a few people to come in to help manage parts of the project or do the technical work.
I was a bit surprised at how closely rated the firms were in each of those three areas. Each one scores as well as the others. The third-party firms measured all had scores that fell in similar ranges as those doing the same type of work. However, there is a lot of disparity in the software-vendor performance scores. I found it interesting how far apart their scores were; being aware of software vendors’ strengths and weaknesses is important while planning which partner to use for an ERP implementation.
In the end, I would not necessarily say one type of partner stands out as the best choice. If anything, the report highlights the need for providers to look at their own organizations for clues.
Factoring in Complexity
The complexity of a project is also a major factor. The more complex the project, the more issues firms and vendors alike have with the implementation. A low score doesn’t always mean a firm or vendor isn’t capable; the expectations just might be higher for those more complex projects. There are also more moving pieces that are likely to go wrong in complex projects than in those where an organization brings in just one or two consultants.
The Learning Curve
Due to the new energy in the ERP market and cloud software being new, many of the firms and software vendors are experiencing a shortage of experienced consultants. That being said, it’s essential that providers get the right consultants in place on these projects, and don’t hesitate to switch out ones that don’t have the needed expertise. Many of the misses we see in this report were due to inexperienced consultants. Over the next year or two, I expect a lot of the scores to increase as the firms and vendors get more experience with implementing cloud software.
To learn more about specific firms and vendors and to dive deeper into what road map might work best for your organization, I encourage you to read the full report.
This piece was written by Jennifer Despain, Director of Market Analysis with KLAS, specializing in data analytics, communication strategies, and innovative processes. To follow KLAS on Twitter, click here.