I had a lot of fun working with our expert consultants to put together our blog series on Pre-Deployment readiness. In writing this series, we examined the specific preparatory steps a client should take before their deployment partner walks in on Day One.
Many of these actions are specific to a single solution; however, what we discovered was that there are a few tasks that are necessary no matter which solution or module you’re deploying. These key success factors are: 1. Clarifying your goals. 2. Preparing Key Stakeholders. 3. Data Cleansing and Preparation. 4. Change Management.
Let’s look at each of these factors in making your deployment as smooth as possible.
1. Clarify Your Goals
There is a reason that your firm has chosen to move from whatever type of supply chain system you’re currently using to an Ariba solution. It’s important to determine what it is you want to accomplish, so your consulting partner can focus on helping you achieve that goal. For example, in Sourcing it could be one of several objectives, such as standardizing the process, making sourcing agents more self-sufficient, speeding up the process, etc. In Contracts it might be how you want to use the tool – as a simple repository, or as a more complex solution with full contract management.
Knowing what your end goal is and communicating that to your Ariba partner before the project start date helps them to home in on exactly what they need to do to help you reach that goal from Day One, which saves valuable time in the long run.
2. Prepare Key Stakeholders
This piece of advice appears, in various iterations, in all the articles in our Pre-Deployment series. Sometimes we call it “identifying and preparing key stakeholders” and sometimes we refer to it as “change management” (which we discuss in greater detail below).
The important takeaway, though, is that implementing an Ariba solution will require buy-in from a variety of staffers and departments. In the case of individuals, deployments can be long, time-consuming events that take employees away from their regular duties. Preparing them in advance can help them plan for alternatives to handling their current workload as well as giving them agency in the process.
In the case of departments, many of these solutions, especially Contracts and Buying and Invoicing require cooperation across a variety of departments, often including legal and HR. Creating and managing these cross-functional teams can be a complex, time-consuming process to coordinate and follow up on. Again, that early buy-in saves time and frustration.
3. Data Cleansing and Preparation
This is another preparatory task that we discuss throughout our series: a clean data source is crucial to a smooth, on-time deployment.
Outdated suppliers, duplicate vendors, contracts that are on paper in file cabinets and not even digitized – these are just some of the issues that can delay your deployment by months or even years.
Also crucial is knowing what types of data you want to upload into the new system. Again, this will be specific to the solution, but, for example, in Contracts you need to decide in advance on the template you’ll be using so you know what data you’ll need to populate. In Buying and Invoicing you need to decide how many vendors you want to set up initially. Again, we go into more detail in each of those specific articles, but this is a task that needs to be undertaken with any SAP Ariba solution.
4. Change Management
Although, technically, we discuss this topic under the key stakeholders section above, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to prepare your employees for the big changes that are coming their way.
Here are just a couple of quotes from our series:
“Make your team aware that CHANGE WILL HAPPEN as part of your deployment. Changing routines and learning new systems can be stressful. This is an organizational shift, and you need to have a training and rollout plan associated with that change for everyone down the line. Having team members who are cheerleaders for change within their own roles can help to cement the success of your change management strategy.“
“Change is hard, but it’s harder if it’s sudden and unexpected. Making sure all the key stakeholders are aware of the upcoming system deployment — which will probably change the way they manage their procure-to-pay process — will help get everyone on board.“
SAP Ariba is a system, a thing – albeit a good thing. People, on the other hand, have routines that give them comfort and stability. Jarring them out of those routines can result in overwhelmed employees that feel stressed and resentful. That means key processes can be missed and may not be fully identified until testing starts, which could cause delays or may even derail the entire deployment at the last minute.
Everyone at CCP Global enjoyed putting this series together. We saw a lack in the educational landscape around SAP Ariba in that most of the available learning materials were aimed at the consultants, and not the end user, the client. We wanted to craft an educational series that would be helpful to any client – even if they aren’t ours.
However, one other thing we hope you’ve learned from this series is that CCP Global is a caring and knowledgeable consulting partner that truly supports their clients supply chain transformation journey from beginning to end. If you are interested in finding about more about how CCP Global can help with your Procurement transformation, contact us for a no cost virtual SAP Ariba assessment.
We hope you enjoyed this concluding article and invite you to read the entire Pre-Deployment Readiness series if you haven’t already done so.