It is a known fact that most companies focus heavily on the “during” stage of an e-procurement implementation project. It is thought to require the most attention, and more often than not, companies don’t take the time to properly understand their business needs before implementation and forget about aftercare.
In this blog series we plan to cover all 3 stages of an e-procurement implementation project and explore what companies can do throughout these stages to ensure project success.
Firstly, allow us to quickly position that ALL 3 stages of the implementation process need to be treated with equal importance. For the sake of comparison, you should treat an e-procurement implementation project as you would a long-term relationship. You need to pay attention to it every step of the way so as to achieve maximum happiness from both, or all, parties.
Stage 1 – Before implementation
You’ve decided to implement an e-procurement solution and have selected the best e-procurement solution for your business. There are now a few elements to be taken into account to ensure a smooth implementation.
1. Take time to understand your needs properly
A common mistake that organisations make, after deciding to implement an e-procurement solution, is to look at what the different “off the shelf” solutions have to offer, and prepare an RFP based on the best bits from these solutions.
While it’s not a bad thing to explore what features are available on the market – as you could always find something you haven’t thought about – you should always start from your own business needs and build an RFP based on those needs, rather than a typical functions questionnaire. What are the challenges you’re facing? And what are the benefits you are trying to achieve from the new e-procurement system?
Your focus should be on the challenges you’re trying to address and the benefits you’re trying to achieve.
2. Stakeholder Alignment and Change Management
Organisations that have implemented a new e-procurement solution have to implement a change management process towards the latter stages of the project. Wrong! Change management needs to start before the actual implementation, and it has to continue up until after the implementation is done and all employees have received the proper training and communication regarding the new system.
Organisations need to ensure that the proper preparations have been done internally before starting the implementation process and that relevant external stakeholders have been approached as well.
3. Defining the statement of work – expectations of the client and solution provider
This part of the process can be the cause of many debates and challenges if not done properly and well documented.
Many times, organisations expect that after go-live, the system and processes will run smoothly and everyone will know how to use the new e-procurement solution straight away. It also often happens that organisations expect either the software supplier, or their implementation partner, to do the handholding up until everyone knows how to use the system properly.
This, of course, is all possible, and many implementation partners offer these type of services (training session, video tutorials, live sessions etc.), however, in order to do so effectively it is important to list out everything that the vendor will do, and what the customer will also need to do, to ensure that all the resources required to carry out various parts of the project are in place.
4. Choosing the right implementation partner for you
Finding a good, reliable, implementation partner for your e-procurement implementation project, is essential as it can ensure the success of your project. Apart from the technical and project management skills, you need to make sure your implementation partner understands your business and needs and that the internal stakeholders involved in the project can build a trustworthy and fruitful relationship with the implementation partner.
In addition to this, organisations should pay attention to their implementation partner’s experience, and speak with past clients who are similar to their own business or those who originally faced the same challenges. Ensure that the skills available at your chosen partner really do meet your requirements.
If you want to learn more about “the start of the journey” when running an e-procurement implementation project download our eBook “3 Stages on a successful Source to Pay implementation journey”. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series as we take a deeper look at the “during implementation” stage of the journey.