Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Tommy Benston of Verian.
Businesses investing in Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) systems want increased efficiency in their procurement operations. But a system alone does not create efficiency. To reap the benefits of accurately tracking budgets, streamlining approval processes, and controlling spend, focus must be centered on user adoption from the start.
Purchase-to-Pay software is designed to make purchasing easier for the entire organization, while providing visibility, control, and compliance. The most significant driver of ROI is getting the most spend under management across the organization. To do that, everyone must use the system. That’s why user adoption gets so much attention.
Here are 10 steps that will help align your team and keep your P2P project moving in the right direction – and getting people using the system.
1) Executive sponsorship: Get commitment from the top. Share your vision and get people excited. The executive’s job is to convey the importance of compliance with the system and the process. Don’t underestimate how important the signal is from the top.
2) Strong project leadership: Make sure your project manager is experienced and dependable. They must hold project team members accountable for the success steps in the process. Implementing a P2P system means there are a lot of variables. Strong project management makes sure nothing falls through the cracks so you end up with a flawless implementation.
3) Make field jobs easier: Purchasing goods with your P2P should be as easy as making a purchase on Amazon.com. Being able to make all approved vendor purchases from one location while being able to check inventory before you buy prevents overspending and reduces the overall time spent in the procurement process. Simply put, you do more with less – while saving time and allowing the field to get stuff when and where they need it to do their jobs.
4) Focus on the personal value and big picture: The goal with a P2P system is to make the end user’s life easier. But any change can be difficult to swallow. Be sure to point out when these changes have a positive effect on users on a daily basis. This can include instances such as spending less time on purchases orders, tracking spend to budget faster, and being able to track overall spend instantly. When you keep track of the seemingly small victories, it’s easier to see the big picture of a P2P system that allows procurement operations to accomplish more with less time and energy.
5) Offer incentives for meeting goals: Meeting goals should be fun and rewarding. Tying incentives to milestones, such as POs issued or percentage of spend running through the system is a great start. System compliance will increase when those who follow the correct process reap the benefits.
6) Internal marketing campaign: Have a solid communication plan before you start and continue to follow it throughout. Raising awareness of the project lets people know what will change, how it will affect them, and why. No one likes to be surprised when it comes to their job and almost everyone wants to know the “why” behind the what.
7) Train and document: This cannot be overstated. Train and document everything!Depending on the situation, yourapproach will vary – train the trainer vs. vendor training, but make sure your plan follows through and make sure you have everyone on-board and prepared with the proper documentation. It is helpful to create specialized documents, such as Requisition Manual, Approval Manual, etc.
8) Enforcement through policy: Whatever policy you lay out must have teeth. And just like having a P2P system doesn’t automatically bring efficiency, your policies must be enforced. Make the rules clear by not reimbursing for off-contract buying and not paying vendors without a PO. Compliance will come fast if you enforce the rules and managers hold their people accountable.
9) Communicate well and often. Your policies must be communicated well and often through multiple channels (company meeting, hard-copy document). Sending a single department or company-wide email will not get your message across. Managers must make it clear that exceptions will not be tolerated. This message needs to be consistent throughout.
10) Select the right system and the right team. Be thorough in system selection and configuration. Ninety percent of projects fail because of the wrong system or the wrong configuration. It is critical to make sure the system is easy to use. Focus on what really supports your objectives for the project, allocate enough people and the right people, and set a realistic timeframe. For the best results, remember AP, purchasing, controller/ finance, and IT must be on the project team.
Your approach and execution of your P2P project plan will determine the level of user adoption and that will ensure success. It makes sense to take the time and effort before the process and continuously focus on what will garner the approval and appreciation of the users within your organization.