Going live with a new e-procurement solution brings a huge sigh of relief to most organisations and very often, due to the go-live excitement taking up everyone’s attention, the “aftercare” stage can be neglected.
In part one and part two of this blog series we talked about the prerequisites for a successful e-procurement implementation project and the challenges and opportunities that can arise during the implementation phase. Likewise, there are a number of opportunities to be identified and challenges to be overcome in the final phase of the implementation journey.
The system is up and running, now you need to deliver the benefits. To ensure this happens, there a few elements to be considered:
Support and training
It’s human nature to be resilient to change. This is why, when implementing a new e-procurement system, organisations need to offer support and training to their employees. It will be a slow start, but with the right support people will embrace the new system and processes.
Setting up a help-desk service with well experienced handlers is usually the most beneficial solution as it will enable users to learn how the system works. In addition to the help desk, organisations need to set up training programs, both for existing and new users.
Continued supplier enablement
What good is a new e-procurement system if your suppliers are not willing to use it? Organisations need to have efficient supplier enablement programs in place in order to enable their suppliers to use the new system.
We recommend starting your supplier enablement process during the project. You won’t get all your suppliers on board during this phase, but you should continue to work your other suppliers in a structured way based on a planned on-boarding strategy.
Performance management and continuous improvements
For your e-procurement solution to keep delivering benefits it’s important to have a reporting process in place. This will ensure you identify any existing issues, whether we’re talking about the system not being used properly or simply not being used at all. If this is happening because of a real issue, you will be able to identify and solve it and if it’s down to reluctance to change then the issue will be addressed by your change management program.
Updates and new releases
One of the greatest benefits of having a SaaS system in place is that new releases are fairly regular, with updates coming up every quarter or every six months. System upgrades are usually eagerly anticipated by customers as they can solve existing system issues or can bring new, useful functionalities to their business. You can read more about release management best practice here.
Utilise internal resources effectively
Implementing a new e-procurement system could require some internal resource reallocation. Organisations need to adapt to the new processes and be able to assess the areas where there are gaps and the areas that are over-staffed.
In the first few weeks
In the first few weeks after go-live it’s important to highlight what has already been achieved, making sure the outcomes remain positive and maintain momentum.
At the same time, it’s important to maintain a certain level of support from your implementation partner, to ensure a smooth transition into independently managing the new system.
After 6 months or a year
When implementing a new e-procurement system, organisations shouldn’t assume that, if you did everything right in the beginning, your system will run smoothly for as long as you want to use it. Most successful organisations keep project momentum going by periodically running an in-depth analysis of their system.
To help evaluate your system, Xoomworks provides XoomTune, a tool that analyses the detail of your spending activity and identifies where you may be missing opportunities, or where performance doesn’t match up to best-in-class measures.
The primary message that we want to get across through this blog series is that businesses must maintain a balance of effort across all 3 stages of an e-procurement implementation project. By doing this they will be closer to achieving the expected results, costs will be kept under control, deadlines will be met and the business will have a system in place that is being used by everyone.
If you want to read more about this topic in more detail you can download our “3 Stages on a successful Source to Pay implementation journey” eBook.