In this blog, we outline the essential steps finance and accounting software providers should take – pre-launch, during launch, and post-launch – to ensure a successful implementation.
Choosing the right SaaS solution to transform your accounts receivable and finance function requires more than a comparison of features and prices.
When changing a part of your business that impacts the three most important areas – people, cash, customers – organizations need to choose a vendor that is willing to be a true partner. A SaaS solution can only add value if it is adopted and used which is why finance leaders should choose a vendor that is committed to rolling out a successful platform suited to your business needs and your customers’ needs.
To ensure your success, the winning SaaS supplier should take these steps before, during, and after the implementation process.
A good roadmap is the cornerstone to a successful implementation. Your technology provider should develop a tailored plan that includes your agreed upon adoption goals, KPIs and a detailed needs document. “Make a list of every person, team and department that will use the new tool. This includes day-to-day users, as well as leaders who consume data the tool will produce. Be sure to not only address who your stakeholders are, but how they will be impacted and the timing of the impact.” recommends Eileen O’Loughlin, Senior Content Analyst at Gartner Digital Markets.
2. Implementation team
Oftentimes the difference between a successful implementation and an unsuccessful one comes down to the team running the project. Ask your partner for the qualifications of its implementation team. How many projects have they managed? What other projects have they managed? Have they worked with other businesses like yours? You want a project team that is experienced and has the technical expertise to be able to handle your specific requirements.
3. Technical integration
Integrating systems is not easy.Look for a partner that has knowledge about your business and your systems, and deep technical expertise on best-in-class integration methods.
Training all appropriate stakeholders and users is essential for success. Choose a partner that offers immediate hands on training, as well as training geared towards enabling you and your organization to be self-sufficient moving forward. The trainer programs and self-service online training will ensure new team members have access to the same standard of training as the initial project team.
Detailed and regular communication among the project team leading up to and during launch is integral to success. Equally important is communication with your clients and end-users affected by this change. Lean on your technology partner to provide tried and tested communication strategies to ensure the highest level of adoption among all users.
6. Data validation
Output is only as good as the inputs provided. The data used must be cleaned, tested and validated. Your technology supplier should have a plan for how they are going to test and review your data as well as reconcile and resolve issues.
7. System testing
The integrated software must be tested. Ensure your partner provides a complete staging environment, assistance for test planning and interpreting test results, and resolves issues uncovered during testing.
8. Feedback and continuous improvement
Having a post-launch and ongoing business review is significant in driving continued success. Your technology partner should facilitate a post-launch review, incorporating feedback from the entire project team. The review should be focused on honest opinions, goals achieved, risks mitigated and what to change or amend moving forward.
9. Ongoing success management
Anyone who’s rolled out a SaaS solution before knows that “launch” is really just the first step. The real value comes from what happens after launch. Choose a technology supplier who provides you with a dedicated Client Success Manager (CSM). Your CSM should be an expert in change management, in educating your team, getting them excited about using the powerful new tools at their fingertips, and rolling out communications strategies to end-users to ensure the highest adoption.
When shopping around for a SaaS partner, compare features, compare price, but also compare the implementation offering. A successful implementation is more than just going live on time and on budget. Success is defined by achieving very high levels of customer adoption, and driving KPIs. With the right partner, you should feel confident taking the plunge into your AR and finance transformation.
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