I’ve always worked in client businesses. Helping clients to solve challenges, from as early as my Big 4 audit days in global offices and Controller roles of high-growth businesses, to my present-day consulting & wellness business.
As I’ve progressed through the years and observed the constantly changing landscape, it amazes me that even though technology is making things “easier”, businesses are still struggling with similar challenges around efficiency and process. There’s a general opinion of companies I’ve worked with, that implementing a system and automating tasks will make life easier, but it can surely be quite the opposite if it is not well planned and executed at a holistic level.
A lot of consideration needs to be given to the current tech-stack, vision tech-stack, architecture, data input points, integrations, security, controls, reporting, administration of the technology, users and the list goes on and on.
A change in a company or department technology can have direct effects on each of the peripheral systems within that department or company’s technology stack. For example, if an Accounting department is looking to change the ERP, the focus is very much on doing just that and trying to get through the implementation as quickly and smoothly as possible, while still managing the day-to-day of the business. Very little thought is given to the peripheral systems of the ERP which individually or collectively may be managing CRM, time tracking, travel & expense management, bill payments, payroll, internally-developed platforms and so forth. The implementation team of the new technology are usually not thinking about this at all, as their focus is getting the scoped-in technology up and running.
There may sometimes be so many people involved in this process, each with their own objectives relative to their department or function and very little attention to the broader business ecosystem. There can also be a certain lack of ownership of (what I refer to as) the “Eagle’s view” of the landscape. Typically, this role lies within the finance, IT or business operations wheelhouse, but these are all very differently skilled individuals or departments and more often than not a certain lack of congruency in thought, objective and execution. They may also not be fully-versed in different types of technology options, nor the expertise to facilitate a technology and process project of this type.
For any business implementing a new business system technology, I would consider the following key points as critical and representation of a holistic thought process pertaining to an upgrade or implementation:
- Overall Objectives
- What is the overarching objective for this technology and how does it drive towards overall business objectives? This should be considered in detail, not merely “automation and integration”
- How can we improve operations, scalability and efficiency?
- Reporting requirements
- What types and formats of reporting is required to manage the business?
- Which stakeholders internally and externally are you needing to report to and what are those specifications?
- Architecture (of the entire tech-stack)
- How does the architecture of the tech-stack align with the overall objectives and reporting?
- How is the vision of the business incorporated into the design?
- How flexible is the design to be able to adapt and scale as the business changes?
- What do we really mean by integrations? This is a term used very loosely and can refer to 100 various things.
- Is it a direct API integration, custom or “out-the-box”?
- What is the cost and maintenance involved? SFTP file drop is much less costly to implement and maintain vs middleware which can cost more and requires maintenance (both achieve different objectives).
- What is the timing of data syncs based on setup and are all departments aware of this timing?
- Data Inputs
- What are the data entry points?
- Is a data entry point in one department going to alter the integrity of data in a different department via an integration?
- System administration
- Once the new technology is implemented, who will be the “Super-user Admin”?
- If there are multiple key systems, which there usually are, who will manage each?
- Data transfer and reconciliation
- How is data transferred from a previous system to a newly implemented system and how is it being reconciled?
- What is the timing of the transitions? Transitions are key parts which need to be planned as the cut-overs are some of the riskiest times when changing over to a new system.
- How do existing processes need to be updated for the new system/s?
Communication, training, user-adoption, change management are also key components and will need to be defined as part of the implementation project plan.
It’s not the standard items in the implementation that will be the demise of the project, but the blind spots and non-standard scenarios that can cause the implosion and unless you have the expertise and an outstanding view of the financial, operational and business requirements all wrapped into one, you’re not thinking of it as one hybrid of processes. It’s a network of data ins and outs, do’s and don’ts, stops and go’s.
As a business, BizVisory & Wellness focuses on the bigger picture when it comes to our clients’ business, processes, technology and people. We are the “Eagle view” for your business, to maximize efficiency of various technologies and business processes. Our years of experience alongside our best practices and unique view is where we aim to be the game-changer. We partner with top-tier technologies to be a one-stop-shop for all things Accounting, HR, Payroll, Technology and Business support; and Your big picture business partner.
Contact Us today for a complimentary consultation and to continue a more in-depth discussion on your business technology stack and processes.
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