You’ve just signed an agreement for new Source-to-Pay technology. The provider has given promises of high ROI to support it and is ready to kick off implementation next week.
During implementation, they will ask hundreds of questions, big and small, to gather your requirements to configure the tool. However, this leaves out a very important step, one that, unfortunately, most providers don’t recognize.
Too often, providers look at tech implementations as merely a technology issue, generally providing recommendations only if they can’t shoehorn the current state of processing into their tool. This is not the best approach to fully realize the benefits of the technology.
Instead, clients should look for a provider that offers a consultative approach to implementation to ensure that user adoption and utilization is maximized. Recommendations should be made to address gaps in the current state during the implementation.
The phrase “People, Process, and Technology” is often thought of as a cliché and not even considered during an implementation. But there’s value in the phrase for a simple reason: You cannot drive maximum ROI on the Technology without aligning the People and Process first.
Part I: Process
Before gathering requirements, your provider needs to first understand the current state of the process and any relevant gaps or pain points. The process and pain point discussion should take place in a collaborative workshop and cover concerns from all user groups. This ranges from end users’ difficulty entering requisitions to the C-Suite struggling to get accurate and relevant KPIs.
This workshop allows your provider to make recommendations on what process changes should happen, in both the tool and any adjacent areas. For example, the provider should look at the Purchase Order approval structure when implementing AP automation. The goal here is to ensure it’s robust enough to allow automatic processing on 3-way matched POs.
This workshop also looks beyond pain points and sees the positives that currently exist – there can be good processes in place already and reviewing them doesn’t mean they need to change; it just affirms that they are going to be successful in the future state.
The provider should also use this time to define Target Business Outcomes (TBOs) & Success Metrics. Nobody invests in new technology just for the sake of having technology. There are underlying reasons they want it, in other words, they are likely trying to solve a problem with a deeper root cause. The provider should collaborate with the customer on TBOs to define the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ and then agree on specific Success Metrics that detail what success looks like. If an executive asks how successful the implementation was after Go-Live, the project sponsor should be able to easily produce a report showing the baseline and what has happened since Go-Live.
Benefits to Align Processes to Target Outcomes and Success Metrics
Spending a little time before diving into requirements gathering provides a holistic view of the end-to-end process and allows for more relevant changes rather than trying to adjust during requirements gathering. The requirements gathering process for any technology implementation demands getting into the weeds. Building out the current state, determining TBOs, and aligning on future state process and policy enables both the customer and the implementation team to have a clear basis for decision making during configuration and testing. Without this, customers are left to make decisions in a vacuum without being able to step back and consider how each choice affects the project holistically.
This also enables faster time-to-value which is an important aspect of any implementation. While it might sound counterintuitive since it puts off requirements gathering by 1-2 weeks, these workshops shorten the time needed to prep and execute future process stages significantly. Information used in requirements definition is collected in advance, providing clarity to the implementers configuring the tool, and reducing the number of changes identified during user acceptance testing. In construction terms, this is our version of “measure twice, cut once.”
The biggest benefit by far, though, is ensuring that you, the customer, are set up for success. Identifying the best future state process before beginning implementation is an opportunity to fix pain points that technology alone won’t solve without changing the process.
At Corcentric, we pair implementations with a process review to recommend changes for an optimal future state. Our in-house Advisory and Change Management teams provide a true consulting-focused approach from the beginning of the technology implementation. This drives successful implementations and provides a higher ROI on the Technology investment.
In Part 2, Patrick Baumgardner will look at how companies should approach implementation from the people perspective with Change Management.
If your organization has an upcoming procurement or finance project that requires advisory services, change management or both, please contact us for more information about how we can help make your project a success.