Should you choose the vendor or a consulting firm for your HCM implementation?

January 23, 2020


Written by Marcy Noyce

There’s a level of uncertainty and angst that comes with undertaking a system implementation, regardless of the type of HR technology system being implemented. There’s typically a sense of excitement about the new system and the functionality it will provide, but also a level of fear.  You are excited about the product but not excited about the work that is involved preparing for the implementation.

When implementing an HCM software you have two options with most vendors.  As many major HCM software vendors rely heavily on consulting firms/certified partners, you have the option to choose the vendor to do the implementation or you have the choice to choose a consulting firm.  When making this decision, you have to keep in mind that there are huge differences in the two.

When you think of vendor implementations, the perception of most people is that since it is their product, they have the experience, and expertise, so they must be best suited to do it right.  Here are a few things that you don’t think to consider.  Cost.  The cost with a vendor implementation is often more expensive.  Why?  They too believe they are the best subject matter experts (SMEs) for their own software and they’ve got more overall costs to cover. Hands down.  Most vendors are going to be there to guide you through the implementation but the configuration itself is mostly done by the client.  Sure, they will put in the bare bones to get the system up and running but they look to the client to do most of the heavy lifting. Last, but not least, what about ongoing support and customer care?  With a vendor, you are contracted to that vendor for a certain go live date.  What happens if that date has to be adjusted?  What if the vendor is already booked solid for your new go live date?  This will cause one of two things to happen.  One, you will get a rushed finish causing the system to not be the way you really wanted it or two, you will get pushed to an even later date when resources become available.

Now let’s look at the Consulting firm avenue.  With a consulting firm you get many benefits that you may not be aware of.  Let’s start with the same mentioned above.  Cost.  The cost of a consulting firm will generally be slightly lower than that of the vendor.  You not only have the same level of expertise in some cases but in others, it far exceeds because that is all a consulting firm does. Consultants take the same classes and trainings that the vendor does. However, in most cases, they have also worked as an end user and bring real industry experience and best practices.  In addition, they work in teams.  That is like getting several implementation partners for the price of one. Hands on!  With a consultant you are going to get more of a hands-on approach.  We will visit you, we will walk you through each process, we will assist with configuration and we will be there to pull you up when you think nothing is going right.  This is the “white glove” treatment you can expect from reputable consulting firms. Ongoing support and customer service is another area where we are not only going to be there until you are live, regardless whether or not you push your go live date, but we will be there to support you as long as you need us after.

Here at HRchitect, we have several resources at our disposal to make sure you have the best experience possible and that you love the system we know you have put a lot of money and time into.  If you are successful, we are successful, but then and only then. So, when attempting to decide between consultant and vendor, keep in mind, that in the end the consultant path will always win! For more information on how HRchitect can help you, request a consultation!


Marcy Noyce has 15+ years of experience in payroll, time & attendance, talent acquisition, performance management, project management, process building and process improvement in industries including healthcare, retail, and transportation. As a former HR practitioner turned consultant, Marcy understands the challenges today’s HR leaders face and is able to offer best practice consulting services to address those challenges through the utilization of HR technology.


About Marcy Noyce, CPP