June 20, 2016
It’s not unusual. After a lengthy selection process, your company has chosen a cloud-based solution that has garnered praise across the industry. All the higher-ups in the company are on board and think this is the best invention since sliced bread and that it will supercharge productivity and savings across the board. Then comes the realization during the design phase of implementation that there was a “miss” in the RFP process; the solution cannot meet the needs of key policies and procedures that are vital to your company’s operation. You have just been “Gotcha’d”.
This situation recently happened to one of my clients. This client had been “gotcha’d” by a data security issue. What the client desired was that users be allowed to allocate cost to any GL and company, however, those same users were to be restricted in the ability to only view requisitions and invoices to the company that they were assigned. Unfortunately, the solution could not accommodate the ability to restrict the user from viewing without restricting the ability to code the allocation to any company. This caused a tense situation between my client and the cloud platform provider.
This situation left only 3 options.
1. Request Changes to the Cloud Platform
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change…” – Joe DiPietro
In a previous blog that Jim Kandilas had written, one of the greatest advantages of cloud computing is the out of the box ability to select from a feature-rich array of capabilities in your configuring your system. This is done to meet the needs of a wide variety of clients with different ERPs, processes and policies. Some cloud platforms give leeway when it comes to customizing their application to meet your needs. However, many solutions tend to keep the application the same across all clients to minimize the costs to maintain the platform itself. To get feature requests on the roadmap, clients need to submit their proposals to the entire client community. If enough members of the client community want the change, the feature is added to the product roadmap for eventual inclusion.
In this case, my client went through this route. They requested that the application be modified to meet their needs and brought it up to the client community as well. Although theirs was a “showstopper” issue, the requested change affected the application’s core functionality. Trying to enact that change could not be done in a realistic time frame. Inevitably the solutions provider, due to the complexity of the change, could not provide this feature to our client.
2. Change Internal Processes
“Ch-ch-ch-changes… Turn and face the strange…” – David Bowie
Changing internal policies and procedures is hard for any size company, whether you are a small firm of 25 people or a large conglomerate of 200,000 strong. When enacting internal process changes, it can be a “next to impossible” task to get enough stakeholders on board and have it accepted within the larger company since it affects the day to day operations. Back in the day when the systems were on premise, the choice came down to either changing policies and processes or altering core code to change the functionality of the system. For many large organizations, it was much less painful to change the software than change the business.
When leveraging cloud applications, the choice to alter the functionality essentially goes away. Instead, it all comes down to how well you can fit inside the box. When you are “configuring” a system versus “customizing,” there is only so much you can do. So now, the only true option is to change the business.
In this circumstance, my client looked at modifying their internal processes and tried creating a new security policy that would restrict all users to only allocate to their specific business units. This suggestion was brought to senior management. Unfortunately in this situation, several executives refused to go this route since it would be a detriment to how they conducted their day to day operations.
3. Hire an Implementation Partner for Help With Out of the Box Thinking
“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends… Gonna try with a little help from my friends.” – The Beatles
I have to say that when John and Paul were writing this song, they were likely thinking about implementation partners. Implementation partners act as the bridge between the client and the cloud platform providers. They bring knowledge of platform specific best practices, as well as help clients think through all the ins and outs of their processes and policies, with an eye toward merging them into one system. They help you think the problem from a different angle, helping you think outside the box.
For this specific client, after listening and reviewing their current processes and observing their day to day operations, we came up with a solution. We slightly modified the way they classified their organizational structure in the tool and added an additional segment to their accounting records. This allowed them to restrict a small part of their finance users to view things and leave the rest of the users to view only documents that they created, while giving them the access to allocate anywhere. Success!
“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?” – Ray Parker, Jr.
At the end of the day, “gotcha’s” are a lot like ghosts. They scare the living daylights out of you and you inevitably will need help. That is where implementation partners, like Shelby, come in. Consider us your own personal “Gotcha” busters, coming to your aid in a time of need. We have the tools, expertise, and knowledge to help think outside the box and imagine solutions that are not thought of by the cloud platform provider. So who are you gonna call?
The Shelby Group