Step 1: Blueprint phase to determine the level of modernization needed
Step 2: Pre-implementation workstreams
Step 3: Phase Zero / Implementation Readiness to start the “long pole” workstreams
Step 4: Transformational system implementation
Step 5: Stabilize and optimize
Step 1: Blueprint
The first step is to create a blueprint of the work you need to do in four quadrants:
- People: organizational and stakeholder readiness
- Process: key areas that need improvement or reengineering
- Organization: target operating model
- Technology: software evaluation and selection
“If you’re building a house, you would never get a backhoe and start digging a hole without understanding the footprint and other aspects of the house you’re about to build. In this phase, you need to clearly articulate what you’re trying to achieve, and then link how the software and non-software components will achieve those objectives,” Snyder said. Lilley said that organizations need to be honest in assessing whether they are ready to commit to the program. Are you willing to commit the necessary resources and ensure they have the capacity to support the program? Are you ready to deal with the significant challenges that most organizations have, related to data readiness and progress alignment? Do you understand and agree to address the policy, procedure and organizational changes that are required to successfully implement a cloud solution? “If you’re not ready to do that,” Lilley said, “you are not ready to move to the cloud.” The cloud needs to be viewed as a long-term commitment. In return for that commitment, you can take advantage of the continuous investment the software vendor is going to make in the cloud solution. With the right support structure, your organization will benefit from regular enhancements and advancement provided by the software vendor that, in the past, would require an upgrade project to realize.
Step 2: Workstreams
Next, organizations should create the pre-implementation workstreams needed for the four quadrants of people, process, organization and technology.
“Once we lay the foundation, then we can start to lay in all of the automation that is going to take you to that next level,” Lilley said. Snyder added, “If you push the transformational envelope, your workplace should look completely different. I’m not suggesting you let people go, but I am suggesting that you have the will to reprioritize work in order to take advantage of the efficiencies gained through digital transformation. We are in the white collar revolution of automation. SaaS provides the opportunity to significantly advance your organization in terms of automation. If you don’t do it, trust that your competition is – it’s a business imperative for survivability, now more than ever.”
Snyder recalled one company that created hands-free automation in its accounts payable invoice processing, “but they did not do anything to get other value from the accounts payable department personnel.” Lilley said, “You have to look at what the organization needs, and make sure that you realign roles and responsibilities to that new structure. It takes full transparency to tell people ‘We’re changing this. Here’s how you’re going to be valued going forward.’”
Step 3: Phase Zero
Phase Zero sets the foundation for the entire implementation by confirming the strategy, scope, timeline and resources (roles and responsibilities), as well as defining guidelines and standards for project documentation, communications and issues/risk tracking. Phase Zero also establishes the project organization structure and meeting/review cadence.
In the SaaS world, Phase Zero requires strong business support to complete. Business is heavily engaged with design, testing, training, user adoption and policy. “As you get deeper into the project, that’s where IT has a larger role. As we bring in new functionality, they have to make sure that it hangs together within the ecosystem,” Lilley said. “It’s just a different role than IT has traditionally had on ERP projects. There is no longer a heavy build requirement, so IT tends to be focused on integration, data conversion/cleanup and understanding how the cloud solution co-exists with your other software solutions.”
Step 4: Implementation
The next step is to complete the larger system implementation. To succeed, the solution must be more than implemented – it must be adopted.
“The number one success factor we use is the adoption of the software,” Snyder said. Most implementation teams ensure that the software works, the methodologies are sound and the team can convert the data – but they might not effectively drive adoption. “If you don’t do that, bad behaviors will immediately creep back into your organization, and you will lose the benefits of automation. For example, you will see Excel come back into your environment if you don’t get people to embrace the change, understand the technology and understand the new power of the technology. Really, the demands of your employees – and your customers – are a key element in driving cloud adoption,” Snyder said.