Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Verian.
A proven implementation methodology can make or break an automation project. Choosing to automate purchasing, invoice processing, and other P2P functions is a big decision. However, deciding to automate is just the first step, and although it carries a lot of weight, it’s not the most important decision in the process: choosing a provider with a proven implementation methodology is even more important.
There are way too many horror stories out there about companies that got all excited about P2P automation, only to crash and burn during the implementation phase. So we decided to put together 10 absolute “Must Haves” for effective implementation of a P2P system:
1. Evident experience
Settle for nothing less than an implementation methodology that has been proven over hundreds of satisfied customers and numerous deployment scenarios, period.
2. Driving focus
There should be a perceptible, up front focus on implementing the system quickly and generating short-term ROI, without missing long-term savings opportunities.
3. Obvious representation
What’s the best way to make a software salesperson disappear? Buy something. This is a humorous adage, but reality should be quite the opposite. After contract signing, demand to be adequately attended. Look for a smooth, easy handoff to implementation professionals.
4. Strategic planning
Success is no accident. It is closely managed. Project managers and stakeholders on both sides must have a clear roadmap regarding the scope of automation, roles, expectations, and timetables.
5. Technical assessment
Look for a prompt, detailed operational analysis that creates a clear understanding of current business rules, so the right trade-offs can be made between configurability, costs, and delivery timeframes.
6. System specification
The result of concrete understanding and expert technical assessment should be a preliminary system specification document, that upon complete satisfaction, guides system configuration and development.
7. Hands-on training
Once the system is ready, key representatives should be treated to proficient hands-on training and training materials that ensure the system is intuitive and meets automation objectives.
8. User acceptance testing
Pursuant to initial training, power users should be put through real business scenarios, exploring nuances encountered in the business setting, and resolving any issues. This type of user acceptance testing (UAT) not only irons out bugs, but also builds excitement and speeds user adoption.
9. Smooth “Go-Live” transition
Live transition should be a natural occurrence of successful UAT, not a headlong rush toward some deadline on a checklist. Production migration needs to be smooth, transparent, and business as usual. Going live prematurely just creates expensive messes that must be cleaned up later.
10. Post-implementation support
Once the system is live and in production, expect responsive post implementation support, including an implementation review meeting, smooth transition to an attentive support team, and regular follow up from client relationship executives with an eye toward continuous improvement of the system, and ever-expanding savings.