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When companies realize they need an ERP platform, they think, “I’ve made it big.”

However, overseeing the selection and implementation of an ERP system can be a tricky task, which is where ERP architects come in.

Here’s everything you need to know about what ERP architects do and how to hire a great one. 

What Is an ERP Architect?

An ERP architect (or enterprise architect) enters the ERP selection process at the very beginning, playing a major role in designing and deploying an ERP system

Think of them as strategic planners who possess a deep understanding of the company’s operations and tech stack to ensure the ERP solution they implement is scalable and aptly supports business operations. 

Unlike ERP implementation teams, which focus on the technical aspects of setting up an ERP system, ERP architects are involved in the pre-planning stages, where business requirements are evaluated.

Here’s what they do:

  • Talk to different departments to understand what they need from an ERP system 
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to understand business goals, gather requirements, and translate them into technical specifications
  • Design a framework that dictates how the ERP system will interact with different departments and technologies
  • Assist in selecting an ERP system that fits the company’s requirements—psst, if you've already chosen your system, an external implementation partner or internal project manager would be a better fit here
  • Ensure all systems seamlessly integrate with the ERP software
  • Supervise the implementation and setup of the ERP system 
  • Troubleshoot any issues that spring up during implementation
  • Train employees on how to use the ERP software correctly

In essence, ERP architects make sure your ERP system is selected well, implemented successfully, and efficient in meeting your company’s current and future requirements. 

10 Most Popular ERP Tools

In case you want to skip the architect and get straight into selection, these are some of the most popular tools my team and I have reviewed.

Common ERP Architect Backgrounds

ERP architects often start as (or still are) developers, with a likely Bachelor’s degree in computer science. This is because the two roles share many similarities. The only standout difference is that ERP architects usually manage larger, multi-person projects and are more involved in the decision-making process. 

Regardless of their degree, architects usually have a background in software engineering. This experience helps them understand ERP systems and third-party applications that integrate with them. 

Aside from engineers, ERP architects can also come from these diverse backgrounds: 

  • Business and Management: Many ERP architects have experience in business administration and financial management. This experience helps them to understand business processes and requirements, which allows them to design ERP systems that align with business strategies.
  • Consulting: ERP architects often have experience in consulting, particularly IT or business consulting. This experience helps them understand different industries and the specific needs associated with them.
  • Project Management: Proficiency in project management is arguably essential for ERP architects, as they often lead the planning and implementation phases of ERP projects. This background helps them manage timelines, budgets, and resources, ensuring that ERP projects are completed successfully.
  • Certifications: Many ERP Architects hold advanced degrees or certifications specific to ERP systems, such as SAP Certified Application Associate, Oracle ERP Cloud, or Microsoft Dynamics Certifications. 
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How Much It Costs to Hire an ERP Architect

If you’re thinking of bringing an enterprise architect on board, it’s a good idea to understand the cost you’ll incur. Here’s a breakdown of how much it costs to hire an ERP architect based on certain variables: 

Experience

Seniority LevelYears of ExperienceAverage Cost (annually)
Entry<5 $60,000 - $80,000
Mid5-10$80,000 - $120,000
Senior>10$120,000 - $180,000
Of course, these are average costs.

I'm sure you'd be able to strike a better deal if it's a friend of a friend... of a friend... who could really use the cash.

Location

Costs can vary significantly based on location. In major cities like New York or San Francisco, salaries tend to be higher due to the cost of living. In smaller cities or regions with a lower cost of living, salaries can be more modest.

Contract vs. Full-Time

Hiring an ERP architect as a full-time employee—even if only for a 1-2 year term—means a consistent salary and, often, benefits like healthcare, retirement plan contributions, and paid time off.

As you might expect, you'll run into higher hourly rates if you choose to go with a contractor. Contractors typically charge between $150 to $300 per hour.

Project Scope

The cost also depends on the project's size and complexity. A simple implementation would cost less, while a large-scale, multi-site deployment will be more expensive due to the additional time and resources required.

Understanding Your Own Project Scope

Understanding Your Own Project Scope

Before you blow past this section thinking your implementation is small potatoes, it’s worth getting a second opinion. Find trustworthy ERP experts and explain to them what you’re looking for—they’ll be able to tell you if you’re looking at an extensive project or an easy implementation.

Industry

Certain industries, like manufacturing or finance, may require specialized knowledge, thereby narrowing their options and increasing the cost. 

Finding the Right ERP Architect

Now, onto the matter at hand—choosing the right ERP architect for your business. Here are some steps to help you make an informed decision: 

Step 1: Find Candidates

I know, duh… but hear me out. To find the right ERP architect for your business, you should cast a wide net to attract qualified candidates. Here are the most popular ways people go about it: 

  1. Job Sites: This one’s obvious, but leading job platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor are your best bet for finding an enterprise architect. You can search for candidates with specific skills, such as SAP ERP implementation.
  2. Industry Conferences and Seminars: Attending industry events can be a great way to meet enterprise solution architects. These events help you interact one-on-one with industry professionals looking for their next opportunity, or who’d know someone that is. 
  3. Referrals: You can dip into your current talent pool and ask for referrals from your network, including current employees, business partners, and industry contacts.
  4. RFPs (Request for Proposals): If your needs are project-specific, or you’re looking for consultancy services rather than a full-time position, issuing an RFP can help you find professional services firms or independent consultants with expertise and skills that fit the bill. 

Step 2: Interviewing Your Shortlist

Once you have shortlisted potential ERP architect candidates, the interview process is crucial to determine who best fits your company's needs. Here are some questions you can ask candidates to gauge their experience and skills: 

  1. What experience do you have working with enterprise architecture?
  2. Have you ever led enterprise change before? How did you do it?
  3. What tools are indispensable to you as an ERP architect?
  4. Could you walk me through your ERP analysis process and what you look for?
  5. Do you have experience with risk impact analyses?
  6. How do you ensure that IT solutions meet functional and non-functional business requirements? 
  7. How would you negotiate a high-level service agreement with a prospective vendor?
  8. What recently developed technological and automation tools might be important to enterprise architecture?
  9. What points do you think are crucial when communicating a successful proposal to stakeholders?
  10. Have you ever performed a security assessment? Were you able to mitigate risk?
  11. Do you have any experience with on-premise to cloud-based ERP migration?
  12. How would you describe the framework of application portfolio management?
  13. How might you encourage cross-team collaboration within our organization?
  14. How do you ensure the scalability of an ERP system to accommodate future growth and changing business needs?

ERP Architects — The Bottom Line

If your business is a city, then an ERP architect is, well… an architect. But also, sort of a city planner. Their job is to ensure that all workflows and components before, during, and after implementing an ERP solution run smoothly. 

With their technical acumen and industry knowledge, they are your best bet in narrowing down and setting up an ERP system that is scalable, configurable, and fit for all your business needs. 

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Simon Litt
By Simon Litt

Simon Litt is the Editor of The CFO Club, where he shares his passion for all things money-related. Performing research, talking to experts, and calling on his own professional background, he'll be working hard to ensure that The CFO Club is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to stay informed on the latest financial trends and topics in the world of tech.

Prior to editing this publication, Simon spent years working in, and running his own, investor relations agency, servicing public companies that wanted to reach and connect deeper with their shareholder base. Simon's experience includes constructing comprehensive budgets for IR activities, consulting CEOs & executive teams on best practices for the public markets, and facilitating compliant communications training.