So you’ve made the decision to move from spreadsheets to specialised software. We gave you a few tips on what to consider when choosing financial software and some things to look out for when selecting a vendor.
Another important aspect of this transition is the implementation process; so we thought we would answer a few of the questions you might have.
Where would we start?
The first step should be a detailed "scoping" workshop, where the vendor tries to get a deeper understanding of your business and your specific needs. The result of this workshop is a document that specifies exactly what is in scope for your project and, just as importantly, what isn't, and a clear detailed project plan.
How long will the implementation take?
An average implementation should take between 4 and 8 weeks, depending on the complexity of the project. This would be established and outlined in your project plan. A lot happens in this timeframe, some of it remotely and some of it on site at your offices.
What will it entail?
It will all begin with the installation of the new software and the vendor creating the integration package, to ensure everything is ready to go. This would be followed by the initial database setup.
Your vendor’s staff come to you and set everything up on site, working with the person you select to be your administrator. They would begin with the standard setup and then begin to add the details of your financial needs, for example configuring the budget types specific to you, and the additional items that you came up with together in your scoping workshop. The staff would be on-site with you for two to three weeks.
Will it affect my business?
Yes, to some degree it will. You will need to balance your “business as usual” tasks with what is required from you when they do the implementation.
What will they need from us?
Initially, your IT person will need to provide access to your online environment. Your finance person, or the person you select as the administrator of the system, will need to be on hand throughout the process. Your project sponsor will need to attend the weekly project meetings along with the core team. By including the key members of your team, they are being trained so that you are self sufficient once the implementation wraps up.
Will further training be needed?
As mentioned above, there should be “on the job” training for the administrator at least during the implementation. A good vendor should offer you the option for them to be involved in end user training and they should recommend that you are in the end user sessions as well, as the majority of questions are process related rather than system related.
That’s a wrap
The project should finish up in the agreed timeframe and there should be support on hand for an agreed upon period after the system goes live.
Do you have any questions that we haven’t thought of? Let us know in the comments.