Change has a way of being unobtrusive. You are doing what you consider are your regular duties, without realizing the magnitude of the work that you are doing or its impact.

A year or two ago, in one of my Facebook posts I had updated about this when I, as a representative of my previous company, signed a PO of significant value for the purchase of some services from the vendor. I had never signed a PO in my career and to sign a PO of significant value was not par for the course for me. But I did not feel the momentousness of the change at that time.

Later I did, of course. I realized that very few people get such opportunity in their lifetime. I also realized that without my perceiving, my career had undergone a significant shift.

Similar thing happened yesterday. I executed my first project as an Independent Consultant !

If you see my profile, you will see my personal vision is to use my knowledge, experience and expertise to help SMEs in India become globally competitive through the use of IT. Exactly a year ago I decided to walk the talk and quit my job to focus on Independent Consulting and Advisory Services.

I have some niche skills. I am one of the very few Oracle Apps ERP Consultant who can easily toggle between a 30000 and 30 feet when it comes to ERP Implementation in Oracle Apps process manufacturing footprint. I can configure an end to end ERP landscape including Purchasing, Inventory, OPM, Costing, OM, Financials - Payables, Receivables, Cash Management, Assets and finally GL - Budgeting, Financial reports and associated schedules.

The whole Shebang...

I also have deep knowledge of configuring and implementing in ERP, the complex taxation system in India.

With such set of skills, I am not happy to be boxed into a typical Finance Consultant, Supply Chain Consultant, OPM Consultant etc. I am more than any of the individual applications. I am an 'ERP Consultant'. And I want to be on the ground, listening to customers, resolving their problems and helping them get the full value out of their ERP Investments.

However, in traditional IT Organizations, it is very difficult to find such a role. They have 'Boxes' of expertise as I mentioned above. And if you become senior enough, you will move into administrative and sales roles and you knowledge of the application will become progressively shallow. Your precious achievements (remember that Cash Flow Statement that you configured in FSG for a Middle East Customer?) will fade out into memories.

I did not want that to happen to me. I wanted to use my knowledge for the benefit of Society. I did not want my "Yesterday's Achievements" to define "Tomorrow's me". That was one reason I decided to become an independent consultant.

Another reason that I wanted to move into independent consulting was that I wanted to be a part of SME India growth story. SMEs in India have vibrant and dynamic management but lack the skill and resources required to implement traditional ERP Systems. Neither they can afford the 'Big' consulting companies, nor are these companies are interested in SMEs as a customer segment. SMEs are picky and demanding. They guard their expenses like a mother bird guarding its chicks.  Big companies are not interested in investing time and resources in this segment. Due to this, these SMEs do not receive the best of guidance and support in implementing  an ERP System and end up in a failed implementation at a lot of loss and heartburn.

Net result? They lose faith in ERP and they communicate the same to their network. The entire SME network become skeptical of any benefits from their ERP Implementation. An application and a team that should have become their partner in delivering Operational and Strategic Excellence, end up as yet another support department - with minimal budget, minimal team and minimal focus.

This is the niche where I want to position myself. I want to reverse the trend of Sub-optimal ERP Implementations in the SME Segment. I have a combination of rich experience and academic qualifications and unique expertise that can add significant value to ERP Implementations for SMEs, mostly in India. This can help them in their ERP journey. The earlier I get in the project, the better will be the outcome.

This was the vision with which I quit my job and moved into Independent Consulting and ERP Advisory Services.

And yesterday, I completed my first project. It was an implementation review. I completed the same and delivered the report and got the closure.

It felt good. Also it involved lots of learning.

Preparing my first proposal was challenging. Sending the same to the customer  and waiting for their acceptance was aggravating. Customer acceptance of the proposal was exciting. Completing my tasks professionally and delivering the report was reassuring. Writing my personal 'Safe Harbor' statement was thrilling. Printing, signing and delivering my first invoice to the customer was overwhelming. Receiving positive appreciation from senior management for my work was positively exhilarating.

It may be a small project lasting about a month. It may be one small step in my career. But, it is a giant step for my future....

Wish me luck.

More important give me work. You won't regret.

About Me: I am ERP Implementation specialist with over 16 years of implementation experience with expertise in End to end ERP Implementations. I  focus on ERP Implementation Consulting and Advisory Services. While my key areas of expertise are ERP Architecting, Financials and Costing, I have implementation experience in all the core business areas including Supply Chain, Manufacturing and Distribution. My personal vision is to help SME Sector in India become globally competitive through the use of IT,  especially ERP.  I come with a powerful mix of domain knowledge (10 Years), Academia (2 Years) and ERP Implementation expertise (15 Years and running). I am one of the few ERP consultants in India who can provide an integrated view of ERP Implementation including account and costing aspects of India Taxation.

If you are planning to implement ERP, or are in the middle of ERP Implementation, please get in touch with me. I could help you make your ERP Implementation highly successful.

I can be reached by email vkrama01@gmail.com, or through twitter @vkrama01. You could also check out my ERP Blog for additional material on ERP.