You’ve done your due diligence, evaluated more Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions than you thought possible and selected the right one to meet your needs (PeopleStrategy eHCM, no doubt). You’ve negotiated, reviewed and signed a contract. Now comes the fun part – implementing your shiny new piece of technology.
If you’ve been through the implementation process before – with any piece of technology – you know it can go one of two ways: as Bruno Mars says, it can be “smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy” or it can be unpredictable with disastrous results like a pleasure cruise on the Titanic. So how can you ensure your implementation is more Bruno and less hidden disaster?
Plan, plan, plan, and then plan some more
When it comes to implementing a HCM solution, whether it is Cloud-based or on-premise, there is no such thing as too much planning. In addition to conducting internal planning sessions with key constituents, you need to work closely with the solution provider to identify all the steps involved. After all, if you choose the right provider, you should be able to rely on their experience and expertise when planning your implementation.
Here are some things to consider:
- Have you established the key success factors / metrics for the implementation?
- How will you adapt to changes as they occur (because change is ineveitable)?
- Are there current processes you can simplify before implementation to eliminate challenges down the road (i.e. multiple time-off policies that could be consolidated)?
- Do you need to integrate your HCM solution with existing technologies?
- How will you import legacy data?
- How will you rollout the new technology solution to your organization?
- What post-implementation plans do you need to make (i.e. how will you handle product updates and releases)?
Appoint a solid project team and LEADER, and set them up for success
Your project management team should consist of: a leader capable of making decisions to move the project forward; subject matter experts in the departments who will use the HCM solution (i.e. payroll, HR, department managers and employees); and, an executive sponsor. While determining who will be part of your project team should be straightforward, you also need to decide how they will manage their other responsibilities during the implementation. Appointing a back-up for each project team member can help alleviate the stress your team may have about juggling daily tasks and implementation duties.
Prepare your organization for change
No one likes change but the better you communicate the reasons for the change as well as the benefits that will result, the easier it will be to mitigate fears about making the transition to the new technology. Change management is a key step to a successful implementation and maximizing the value of your solution.
Preparing your organization for change may include:
- Identifying people within the organization who will serve as champions for change
- Determining challenges to change and success and developing a plan to overcome those challenges
- Generate consensus throughout the organization about why the change is needed
- Give stakeholders a voice in the process, but remember, there is a fine balance…“thinking too long about doing something is often the reason nothing gets done.”
- Develop a communications plan for delivering information
- Manage expectations through clear communication about the likely impact on end users
- Maintain focus on change management throughout the implementation
Choose a partner you trust
While you may get caught up evaluating solution features and functionality, it is imperative that you also perform rigorous due diligence on a solution provider’s implementation process. If you aren’t comfortable with the methodology presented, or if a provider is hesitant to disclose details about the implementation process, consider this a red flag and don’t walk away, run. When implementations go wrong, they cost precious time, money and resources.
Any solution provider who wants to be taken seriously should have no issue furnishing details on their implementation methodology. A reliable and predictable implementation will include but is not limited to:
- Initial project plan that outlines objectives, scope, milestones, timeline, control processes and change management
- Discovery process to identify detailed business requirements and map them to product functionality
- Detailed project plans that identify tasks and responsibilities, specific resource requirements and time estimates
- A phased approach that has clearly-stated deliverables
- Clear process for the timely identification, communication and resolution of any issues
- Periodic project reviews conducted by the vendor’s implementation director and includes necessary project team members from both the vendor and the client
- Identification of training requirements
- Rigorous testing of the new solution prior to launch
It is also essential that you believe and trust your solution partner is as committed as you are to implementing your solution on time and within budget. If there is any doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution. If you align with a provider who runs at the first sign of trouble, you are headed for a Titanic-like implementation.