It’s not just about implementing a source to pay solution. Most companies tend to focus too heavily on the implementation period, putting the majority of their efforts and attention on this section of the journey. However, the two areas that seem to get the least attention, but are equally as important, are the pre and post implementation stages.
Implementing a procurement solution is often viewed as just a software implementation rather than a change programme. In fact, procurement touches all businesses and suppliers in a way that no other system does. Behaviour and stakeholder engagement is absolutely crucial for a successful roll-out.
Let’s go back to basics
Before an e-procurement implementation there are a few steps that will really help you with the overall project.
- Take time to understand your company’s needs
- Your focus should be on the challenges your organisation is trying to resolve and the benefits you’re trying to achieve. Having a clear definition on these will help vendors to present solutions that will address your business needs
- Define your statement of work – align expectations with your solution provider
- This part can be a real struggle for projects. It is very important to list out the responsibilities that the vendor will have and what you need to do to make sure that all the required resources are in place
- Choose the right implementation partner
- The relationship with your implementation partner is really important for the overall success. Having a connection and a strong relationship can make your source to pay implementation seem easier. It is a necessity to choose the appropriate business partner for your organisation.
During the e-procurement implementation there are also a few steps that you need to consider in order to improve your success rate.
- Early and continuous communication with the stakeholders
- Finance department, procurement, business executives and suppliers should all be on the same page in order to assure a effortless implementation
- Policy review
- It is important to review your policies regarding electronic invoicing, suppliers, anything related with you procurement processes. Having these policies in order can help you have a better understanding on what you need to improve in your procurement processes. Implementing a new solution is a great opportunity to make sure you have all your policies in place
- The mechanics of data and integration
- This can create by far the most delays in a procurement solution implementation. Getting hold of your supplier, procurement and finance data and ensuring that it is clean and structured in a way that will help you with reporting before starting the implementation is mandatory. Systems can not work without data
- Having a brand new procurement solution in place is wonderful, but if your organisation does not add any content to the platform, you won’t be able to use it at full power. You need to have a supplier enablement plan with a few objectives to follow in order to make sure you are on track
After the e-procurement implementation, hopefully with no significant delays, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Support and training
- Many users facing new systems will need some sort of support and training in order to have all their questions answered. We recommend using short training videos for maximum effect.
- Continued supplier enablement
- It’s normal not to get all the suppliers on board during the project so it’s important to follow up on that and try to get as many suppliers working on your new and improved system
- Performance management and continuous improvements
- In order to maximise the use of your new procurement system you need reporting in place. Reports will help you identify which areas of the business are using the system and which aren’t
- Updates and new releases
- One of the benefits of using SaaS products is that new releases can be very regular. Make sure you are updating properly and regularly check new functionalities for an improved ROI
You can read more on the subject in our eBook “3 stages on a succesul Source to Pay implementation journey”.
How can you reduce the risk of delays?
Normally, sticking to the steps mentioned above should provide you with a clear path on having a successful procurement software implementation and avoid any major delays.
As in any other system implementation, there can be some steps you should consider in order to reduce the risk of project delays:
Step 1 – Start the project with realistic deadlines
Step 2 – Follow a process flow and certain KPI’s
Step 3 – Make a rule of regularly checking the progress of the implementation
Step 4 – Keep the stakeholders informed about any progress of the project
Get in touch if you need any help with your source to pay implementation project!