Most organisations expend the lion’s share of their energy and attention on the system implementation of a Source to Pay (S2P) solution.
In reality to deliver maximum savings and benefits, it is vital to spend just as much time during project initiation.
You have to be properly prepared internally before embarking on any implementation.
Xoomworks have implemented more Coupa solutions than any other Company in the EMEA, and in our experience many issues that cause projects to run over time or budget can be negated during a thorough and pragmatic project initiation.
The project initiation Phase is also the time to lay the foundations for end user adoption across the business, and ingrain a positive mentality towards the project.
I have gone back to basics to discuss the key things you should consider in order to position yourself for a successful project, with a product that will deliver exactly what you expect:
Take time to understand your needs properly
The First step is to focus on the challenges you’re trying to address and the benefits you’re trying to achieve. By defining these, you force the solution provider to take the time to truly understand your business so they can demonstrate how their solution will address your strategic direction.
Invest time understanding what you’re buying (and just as importantly what you’re not buying). The bottom line here is that you have to have done your own homework and have a clear vision of what you want to achieve as a business. This prevents unwanted surprises, delays, and worst of all the realization half way through an implement that the solution does not fit your organisation.
Stakeholder alignment and change management
A S2P project is not just a system implementation, it is a change program. Up front honesty and transparency is needed at every stage. No other system touches all departments in an organisation to quite the same degree as the procurement function.
It is imperative to involve all key stakeholders and ensure buy in from across the organisation before even approaching vendors; set expectations and table any contentious issues early on, to ensure they don’t corrode timelines or relationships.
In addition to specific stakeholders, setting the scene early for end user adoption is also important; show the benefits of the system to as many people as you can from day one. End user adoption is the key to delivering your business benefits, starting early will make the subsequent roll out that much easier.
Defining the statement of work – expectations of the client and solution provider
This part of the process is liable to cause real problems for projects if not properly undertaken, and well documented. Generally speaking the customer often underestimates the volume of work and skills required from their side, namely ensuring:
- Data is cleaned and consolidated
- Technical integration work is developed
- Support services are in place
- Relevant people are trained
In Xoomworks’ experience, a lack of clarity in the statement of work – leading to subsequent failings in preparation, is the single biggest cause of project delays, which increase the time to value upon project delivery.
It is about setting expectations of what will be delivered by the Vendor, and what will be required of the customer in order to achieve this.
Choosing the right implementation partner for you – Software provider vs. procurement consultancy
It is important to realize that whilst software companies may be well versed in the product, this is not necessarily the same as understanding how to roll out a complex solution and embed it within your business.
When choosing an implementation partner you need to ask:
- Do they have a credible, experienced project team in place, with the skill set to meet your requirements?
- Do they have referenceable clients that relate to your business, by industry, or simply the scope and size of the organisation and project?
- Is there Cultural alignment: will you be able to work together effectively?
When done properly each phase of a Coupa Source to Pay project facilitates the next and builds momentum. To get the greatest ROI, adoption and efficiency benefits, it is essential to balance effort across all stages of the journey.