CPM - Keys to Achieving Post Project Implementation Success
It is a significant undertaking to introduce a new CPM (Corporate Performance Management) system into an organisation. There are many systems offerings and determining selection criteria and appointing an implementation partner are just the first steps in a process that needs planning and commitment well beyond Go Live.
So Where Can We Better Serve the Client Post Implementation?
By understanding the skill sets, time capacity and desire of the incumbent team to adopt change. In most organisations, investment and drive for change comes from the Executive. But it’s the “doers” that face the biggest challenge in adopting new processes and learning new technology and we identify 3 significant hurdles to address when introducing a CPM system;
1.Skill Set – End users are accountants rather than IT resources. Whilst they generally have excellent knowledge of Excel, they may not have been exposed to CPM tools. There is a lot of development within these tools that can contradict the natural reactions of the Excel user, no matter how aligned the tool is with Excel. To adopt new tools and systems, users need readily available and ongoing training and support until they are comfortably equipped to autonomously deliver outputs.
2.Time – At the point of go live, there is immediate demand to use the tool and maintain outputs in line with Financial Calendar demands (e.g. month end reports). Time commitments add to the pressure for the finance team to deliver, often allowing them no additional scope for learning and familiarisation with a new system. A simple example of addressing this is to program parallel process runs into the delivery cycle, whereby the implementation team can guide the client through the process.
Often, these new tools are used somewhat infrequently, which means users have to constantly refresh their knowledge of the required processes. Good documentation is another critical delivery component, that users need development input to, so that they “own it”. The documentation needs to be of a quality that new users can come on board and learn processes. This is essential in mitigating knowledge risk, which is often another key criterion for the initial investment.
Another significant reason for the initial investment is to make processes more efficient for the team, so these efficiencies should be measured, for the team to recognise where gains can be and have been made, so they can recognise payoff against their commitment to learn. Users also need to understand why a system has been built in a certain way, specifically to meet the demands of the organisation.
To best manage time to ease adoption by the user group, projects should be designed to start small, with a progressive development roadmap. This enables the users to grow in confidence and grow knowledge at the same pace as the development. This also serves to engage them deeper in the development process, thus improving adoption and ownership by the key finance resources.
3. Desire – There can often be resistance to change, so “buy in” from the designated user group is required early on in the project. This can be achieved through addressing their current process difficulties and frustrations and directly presenting the improvement solutions to individuals’ tasks and by inviting users to have development input. The “Champion” of the project is often not the end user and they can quickly move on from the project leaving users to handle its adoption and integration into the business culture. This is where it’s critical in the development stages to ensure relevant user parties are invested in the project outcomes. Ongoing support and follow up reviews are an essential part of a project beyond go live to ensure the team are satisfied that the project objectives have been met and are being maintained.
In our experience at CPM Partners, when these 3 hurdles are respected and properly addressed, the business adoption of the CPM solution is a referenceable outcome internally and externally for the client.