An effective implementation plan helps businesses to:
- Control project costs
- Ensure on-time deliverables
- Reduce unexpected issues
- Measure progress of the project
- Gain stakeholder confidence
The first step in creating a successful implementation plan is to establish a project deployment team.
Gartner estimates that planning and development account for at least 65 percent of the start-up costs for a new solution. An effective project deployment team helps manage that big investment. Not surprisingly, three-quarters of businesses establish a project team when implementing systems.
A project deployment team has three critical responsibilities:
- Monitoring the progress of the implementation
- Making decisions regarding process, workflow and system architecture changes
- Developing the business rules that are used to configure the system
The team should include procurement, treasury, finance and IT representatives, and front-line accounts payable staff who understand the current invoice approval processes, and will be impacted by the new system. The team also should include a member of senior management, such as the controller or CFO, with the clout to weather any proverbial storms that may accompany a system implementation, but also to support the investment and monitor the return on investment firsthand.
The IT members of the team should be responsible for validating the feasibility of the system requirements and the architecture that the team develops. One member of the team should be designated to “champion” the project with constituents within the organization, and give regular updates to stakeholders and keep the senior sponsor apprised of any issues. The project deployment team can be supplemented with an extended team (think: day-to-day users) that provides input and feedback on system usability and functionality, particularly during acceptance training.