October 23, 2019
In my last blog, I stressed the importance of “Planning and Preparation” before commencing a global implementation deployment. Now that you have a global rollout strategy, identified governance ‘layers’ and selected success metrics, you are ready to enter the next phase of your global implementation.
As you move forward into the next stage of your rollout, you will need to execute 5 core phases: Design, Build, Test, Train and Deploy. Understandably, each one of these phases is extremely important and necessary to ensure the successful execution of an implementation. (At The Shelby Group, our version of this process is known as our Global Core Methodology™*).
On top of these 5 widely accepted phases of implementation, I’d like to concentrate on three crucial components that I consistently see companies underestimate. These factors bring an extremely high risk to an implementation if not executed successfully. These components are:
1. Project Management & Reporting – You’ve taken the time to set up a governance model, now you must ensure that your project managers are given the tools to be successful.
First and foremost, develop a comprehensive project plan. I’ve yet to see a successful deployment without a project plan in place! Make sure all tasks, deliverables, dependencies, timings, levels of effort and, most importantly, accountable owners are clearly defined.
Develop a thorough status report that gives you the ability to identify overall progress, budget, risks, mitigation, milestones, etc. Keep in mind that in order to ensure global consistency, you need to get input from all global project managers when developing this report. Make sure that it works for all countries. Also, you want one report that can be published to all ‘layers’ of governance so be mindful of your audience. Highlight or bring forward the key points you want executives and sponsors to obtain at a glance.
Schedule regular meetings both at a project level and at an executive level. Figure out an appropriate frequency for the duration of the implementation, schedule recurring meetings, and stick to the meeting schedule. I would recommend inviting or mandating global stakeholders to attend. Even though their country(ies) may not be implementing at the time, they can listen and learn to better prepare for when it is their turn.
With so many moving pieces happening at once, consistent and thorough project management and reporting are imperative. Ensure that your project plan is being updated and meetings are occurring regularly to keep a good pulse on the health of the implementation.
2. Change Management & Communication Strategy – Now that you have a detailed project plan, you can use the plan to align an overall change management & communication strategy. Responsible parties have been defined, dates for execution should be set and now a strategy can take shape.
I encourage organizations to facilitate a workshop to begin identifying:
- All parties that need to be communicated with over the duration of an engagement (End users, executives, suppliers)
- The type of communication that is required (Email, phone, face-to-face, company website or forum)
- The content that will be included (Progress, milestone completions, upcoming tasks, early successes)
- The responsible party for publishing the communication (Project Manager, sponsors, process owners)
Keep all parties appropriately in the loop. Leverage the project plan to develop your strategy. Global implementations typically require more planning around logistics due to time zones, flights, lodging, etc. Provide stakeholders with early and frequent communication to avoid fire drills.
3. Operational Support Plan – Often companies wait until it’s too late to start formulating an ongoing support plan and they become stuck in an overwhelming reactive state. The earlier a company determines its support model, the earlier you can start preparing for life after “go-live” by being proactive and ready with resources, defined roles and responsibilities, and processes. Once your software is in place, it’s too late to begin implementing a support structure. Specifically, when it comes to global support, there are other complex factors that need to be considered, unlike a domestic rollout – factors like support hours, geographic location and language services.
If not before kickoff, then soon after, you need to start answering questions such as:
- Who is going to ‘own’ the software after go-live?
- How many resources do you need and when?
- Is support going to roll into an existing help desk model?
- What processes do you need to develop to ensure seamless support?
- How are users and suppliers going to be directed to support?
- How will support be tracked and reported?
- What Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are going to govern your support structure?
- Do you need to implement a governing body (execs, sponsors) to continuously monitor the health of the software, user adoption and compliance, and general direction when it comes to upgrades, functionality changes, etc.?
Also, the resources that are expected to support your new software need to be trained just like system administrators, end users and software champions.
They need to understand the reasoning behind configuration decisions, processes and scope since they are ultimately now responsible for data, catalog and system maintenance / management. Ensure that these resources are included in all of the training plans you have identified for users. Consider having them participate in the testing like User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
As I stated earlier, every phase during an implementation is critical and equally important. However, due to the added complexities of a global implementation, three particular topics need to be addressed early on. If an implementation gets beyond the first few weeks and these three key areas aren’t being discussed, that’s an early warning sign for potential troubles to come.
Make sure you are addressing these areas early and frequently and you’ll be on your way to executing a successful platform implementation!
The Shelby Group is a market leader in executing global implementations. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for your upcoming Global Platform Deployment or to learn more about our Global Core Methodology™.
Director, Strategic Accounts
The Shelby Group
*Shelby’s Global Core Methodology: The purpose behind our Global Core Methodology™ is to introduce a common set of processes, policies, integrations and system configurations that can be adopted during an organization’s initial deployment.
Once our Core is in place, an organization will typically experience an acceleration of subsequent deployments into other regions, focusing only on unique local design requirements and change management.
The Core introduces program consistency and compliance for 90% of an organization’s spend transactions. It is best practice aligned and helps an organization scale in a more efficient and effective manner. Once our core is in place, an organization will typically experience an acceleration of subsequent deployments into other regions, focusing only on unique local design requirements and change management.