Too often, organizations see technology as the answer to solve their digital transformation issues for Source-to-Pay (S2P) projects, but in all actuality, it takes planning, resources, and technology to ensure success. Given the current chaotic and uncertain environment where resources are being cut or reassigned while aggressive goals remain; it is ever critical to evaluate processes and drive efficiency, rather than be hopeful that technology itself will be the cure-all for broken processes.
How to Approach S2P Projects
Now, more than ever, organizations must follow best practices to align the right resources with the right technologies at the right time to safeguard business success.
Allow planning to become a strategic resource across departments and technologies to support project initiatives. Map out a clear, attainable strategy that includes key deliverables for Procurement, Sourcing, and AP/Finance that will guide S2P success, and prevent an ill-fated implementation by eliminating conflicting priorities and aligning stakeholder expectations.
- Build a Business Case ― The business objectives will be the key driver in communications to drive change and for the process designs. These objectives will serve as the foundation for defining success throughout the implementation and adoption process. Establish key metrics to support those objectives to provide a demonstrable business case.
- Assess the Current State ― Identify and breakdown the current processes and technologies that are currently in place, including the strengths and weaknesses of each. Defining the pain points from key stakeholders during this phase will be critical to ensuring that requirements are defined based on need, not desire.
- Define the End State ― Build out what the idyllic end state of the project would be for stakeholders across departments. What does the business need in order to function at optimal levels? How will Procurement, Sourcing, and AP/Finance be streamlined and optimized when that end state is achieved?
- Coordinate Across Departments ― Construct the project framework by outlining key business needs across Procurement, Sourcing, and AP/Finance. Evaluate what other initiatives are taking place within the organization that might interfere with this project and derail it, planning ahead will help alleviate this.
- Create an Implementation Plan ― Map out a clear, attainable strategy with deliverables that will ensure S2P success. Define roles and responsibilities up front will enable all parties to be held accountable to deliver against the plan.
- Resource Plan ― Directly associated with the implementation plan is a staffing plan that clearly identifies staffing required to successfully implement the project. That staffing can include current and future hires, but should also identify areas where staff augmentation, consulting, or outsourcing may be more cost effective.
Assess current resources and, with existing vs. required expertise in mind, develop plans outlining the necessary assets needed both for the implementation phase and continued success of the program. Some of the required assets needed in a successful S2P project include the following:
- Project Manager ― S2P projects require a Project Manager (PM) responsible for driving and managing internal resources. The PM will assign the appropriate resources to specific deliverables within the plan. Not doing so may stall the project and prevent objectives from being met. In addition, there should be a governance model must be in place to track and manage and escalate to Exec steering committee as required to keep the project on track.
- Change Lead ― There should be a designated Change Lead, apart from the PM, to assist in guiding impacted users through the transition from the current state to the future state. This includes project communications, training, stakeholder engagement, readiness assessments, and change reinforcement.
- Consultants ― The PM may be contracted in to help manage the project. However, the project will need subject matter experts (SME) to provide support and internal knowledge of processes.
Pick the right solution or solutions and delivery model to solve your most critical problems to ensure short-term and long-term success. Here are some best practices when evaluating providers and selecting the right technology for an organization’s unique set of business challenges:
- Identify where technology can be leveraged by focusing on process pain points. This will lead to defining requirements based on need rather than functionality.
- Technology road map development will support the right phasing of solution implementation based on what is best suited for the organization.
- Fully define key aspects of best-in-class solutions and find suppliers best able to meet organizational needs.
- Using the business objectives defined at the start, support implementation and execution activities, and plan for proper change management and adoption.
- Provide measurement and ongoing support for implemented solutions.
- Consider Buy vs. Outsource vs. Hybrid models to determine the best-fit for short-term and long-term objectives.
Do it yourself, outsource, or hybrid model
In an era of cost-cutting, an organization may want to consider whether to take a do-it-yourself approach, establish partnerships, or whether a hybrid model for resources and technology will best support business objectives. Many organizations do not have the specialized resources required to drive success but fear expensive consulting engagements that may take too long to deliver measurable results. Instead, companies should work with industry experts to develop a cohesive strategy that includes analysis of best resource and technology options to drive digital transformation. Look for partners who understand the need to be flexible and can adapt as the needs and landscape of the organization evolve. Ultimately, even in times like this, companies can still meet their strategic goals by considering a shift in resources based on where they can be most effective while leveraging external partners.
Connect with an expert find out how Corcentric can help organizations meet their strategic goals through digital transformation.