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Spend Matters welcomes this sponsored article from Stephen Fedor, manager, implementation services, at SAP Fieldglass.
“Why is it that we never have time to do it right, but always have time to do it over?” Spend Matters posed this question in a recent article and it inspired the SAP Fieldglass implementation team to reflect. Implementing a new technology, VMS or procurement aside, comes with inherent change management challenges. These can include low end user adoption, unclear support materials and lack of training and communication resources. We’ve learned the value of careful change management planning, especially when it comes to managing services procurement and the external workforce with a new technology.
The biggest lesson is: It’s not enough to implement a best-in-class solution. The existing user base needs to know how to use it effectively.
How Can You Ensure That?
First, the end user population and its needs must be identified. Project planning may address the core business need of the project, but it's essential to collaborate with day-to-day users to learn more about their individual processes. Consider including end users during the discovery sessions to validate the project plan and uncover additional details not taken into consideration. Getting users involved early guarantees they have a stake in the new technology.
The next key component of a successful implementation is communication. We have found the best developed programs and projects communicate with end user groups throughout a project lifecycle. It's important to pay attention to the communication type. Decide what's most effective for your audience — email, face-to-face, webinars, electronic or print material, centralized corporate portal. The frequency of communication then comes into play. Be sure that communication does not start at the go live date. The most successful implementation projects kick off communication early and share updates often to get ahead of any issues with other projects that may have competing priorities and resources.
A Real-World Example
A large mutual fund company was planning for its VMS implementation. We knew it was going to be a big undertaking, as the company was moving from paper-based processes and spreadsheets for managing the flexible workforce to using a VMS for the first time.
We worked with the organization to deploy its learning and development (L&D) team to work with our project team in order to gain a better understanding of the technology. The L&D team then developed training it knew would work well for the company's employees.
The training consisted of in-room collaboration and active discussion. The sessions kicked off covering the contingent module and then moved into statement of work (SOW). The training emphasized several themes. In particular, we made sure to share why senior leadership selected the technology. As a result, the organization's employees had a better understanding of why the change to a VMS was necessary and would be beneficial. Attendees left with comprehensive knowledge about the organizational shift the business was about to undergo as well as enthusiasm about the VMS would provide.
User adoption is crucial to the success of any technology implementation. It’s important to recognize the challenges that can come with moving to any new system or process. The specifics may vary from project to project, but getting this piece right the first time can save time and effort throughout the lifecycle of the program.