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5 principles for successful change in Source to Pay projects

by | April 9, 2020

In part 1 of this blog we covered the reasons why change management is often difficult to get right when it comes to Source to Pay (S2P) technology implementation projects. Now let’s talk about 5 principles that companies should bear in mind to deliver change in a S2P context successfully.

1. Start Change Management at the beginning of a project but let it continue beyond the end

Change Management can broadly be split into three phases:  Preparation, Management and Maintenance.

  • Preparation is focused on understanding the vision and goals of the project, the stakeholders affected, exactly how and when they will be affected, and what they need to do in order to adapt.  This forms the basis of the strategy and then understanding the channels available for engagement, communication and training helps formulate the plan.
  • Management is simply about executing against the plan
  • Maintenance needs to mop up the loose ends – measure success and performance, get feedback, tweak the solution, training, support, and then keep on measuring and improving – don’t pack up the day the project goes live.

2. Change needs to come from within the business

The Change Lead should create a Project Change Forum consisting of the Change Lead and relevant stakeholders that represent the business.  Engagement within this group and out to the wider business is needed to explain what is happening and how it will affect people.

The Change Forum should meet regularly, preferably in different locations within the business, and its objectives are to

  • ensure the business supports the project
  • assist in sharing the agreed messaging
  • provide advice and feedback on the strategy and the impact of its delivery.

The concept of SuperUsers can be implemented at a later date when more hands-on expertise needs to be developed.

3. Spend time in the Preparation phase understanding the groups of stakeholders affected by the project – but not too long!  

  • Who are they?
  • What will they gain from it?
  • What could cause them problems or blockers in the project?
  • How open are they to change?

Let this influence where the effort is required.

Build up a picture, in a spreadsheet, of these aspects, and think about the best channels and frequencies of engagement, to make sure they know what to do and when.

An often under-used channel for communication is the marketing department who, in many organisations, produce some incredible consumer-facing material.

It’s likely that suppliers will need separate attention and a clear strategy for enablement based on the priorities of the project.

4. Use the Change Team to spot gaps

While Change Management is NOT organisational transformation, the change team and Change Forum are in privileged positions to spot design decisions that are made during solution workshops that the organisation is not able to cater for.

The Change Lead should liaise with the project team to complete a (very short) fit-gap analysis to ensure there are no surprises at go-live.  These can then be dealt with as the solution is being configured, tested and rolled out.

Source to Pay implementation consultants are able to draw on extensive experience to help spot potential gaps.

5. Use a common-sense approach to delivery

With so many templates, documents, approaches, controls and procedures, it can be easy to get too caught up in project documentation for the sake of documentation.  It can’t all be avoided, but a Change Lead’s main role is to engage with the business, not to create Powerpoints or Excels.

Equally,  make sure what is used is focused, appropriate and necessary – change shouldn’t be fluffy – it should be a transparent and planned process that applies structure when engaging people in the business.

Finally, make sure you have the right expertise in the change team – while it’s great to see people leading this that really understand how and what change management is, if they have no idea how Finance or Procurement operate then they are unlikely to have the respect they need to drive change.

Source to Pay implementation consultants have the credibility required in both the Change and Procurement worlds.