As a Sage People preferred partner with over 75 Sage People implementation projects under our belt, we are often asked what’s important to ensure a successful implementation. Here are six elements that we suggest are in place at the outset, to ensure that your Sage People implementation stays on the fast track:
- Make sure your project has a quantifiable business case
- Think about the end-to-end business process rather than just the software features
- Ensure senior management buy-in
- Identify sufficient time is made available for the project
- Make sure your data is consistent and accurate
- Focus on user adoption and training early on
Why a business case?
For many projects, the approval to proceed would not have been achieved if there wasn’t a clear business case with financial justification to support the investment. However, in some cases projects are signed off with only high level justification.
Having a clear quantifiable business case will ensure the project is focused on delivering value quickly to the areas that are most important. It also provides a measurement for assessing whether the investment is delivering the return expected post go live.
Why end-to-end business process?
A new People system should deliver new ways of working involving a wider audience outside HR. Going into a project with a view on how the process is going to work and who is likely to be involved at which stage, will make it easier to define the requirement. It will also help to identify whether your business has any non standard requirements or whether you could change your way of working to adapt to a standard process.
The HR business processes should all be aligned with each other e.g. recruitment and new starter activities. If you don’t consider the end to end process parts maybe missed off such as the on-boarding process.
Why stakeholder buy in is so important?
Senior management may have signed off the expenditure but their buy in needs to go further. They need to be fully committed, leading by example and proactively getting their teams buy-in. We find a useful way of engaging with the senior management team is thinking in terms of Heads, Hearts, and Hands.
- Hearts… belief that this is the right thing to do for the business and themselves personally.
- Heads… frequent, targeted communications to understand why the change is necessary.
- Hands… leading by example.
The importance of senior stakeholder commitment cannot be overstated in terms of fast tracking your implementation.
Why ensure sufficient resources are available?
It’s an obvious question but often the day job becomes more important than the project and a small delay could have a knock-on effect, creating additional cost and delays to the project. It is important to understand what your responsibilities are on the project, when you will be expected to perform the task and whether there is any preparation beforehand.
If a budget constraint is driving more internal effort to deliver the project, it is important to make sure that the resources are available for the coaching sessions, otherwise they will not be trained sufficiently to carry out specific tasks. This could result in the system being set up incorrectly or result in unexpected errors during the testing phase. If this approach is being adopted be very clear on what the tasks are to be performed and what level of skill is required. Sometimes it becomes cost prohibitive to involve internal resource rather than quickly involve an implementation expert with years of experience.
Why is accurate data so important?
If your data is incorrect and inconsistent you will not be able to easily migrate it into your new system. Your system will be set up with your business structure, policies and rules and if the data you have does not match those held in the system it will reject the data upload. For example, if you have a department set up in the system and there are different variations on the department names, it will only accept the record which matches the department in the system.
Our recommendation is to start reviewing the data as early as you can as this activity can be quite a time consuming activity.
Why focus on user adoption and training at the outset?
As Nabil Al Zarouni said ‘If no one is using the solution, it is not a solution at all’ and we all know that change is difficult. So, we suggest at the outset prioritise both user adoption and training, rather than treating it as an add on.
It takes time for people to accept, and ultimately buy into new ways of doing things and by focusing on user adoption at the outset will help ensure stakeholders buy into the new system more quickly. Communicating early and often with your stakeholder groups.
Offer effective training that can provide users with hands-on learning using real data and scenarios (we prefer to use data that the users know, as it is easier for them to understand and internalise). Then don’t stop there. Once users have used Sage People, provide follow up training to build on their knowledge as they will have different questions and issues to address.
To fast track your Sage People implementation project, and ensure you maximise your return on your Sage People investment, consider outsourcing to a partner who has an in-depth understanding of HR processes alongside the system’s capabilities and limitations.
The benefits of working with an experienced implementation partner
An experienced implementation partner will not only bring Sage People system expertise to the project, but will add value by sharing their knowledge of HR best practice. They can also explain the various implications of configuration choices and provide guidance on getting the most from the system.
Outsourcing to an implementation partner generally means less headaches and more support. Also, you can avoid the steep configuration learning curve, and instead focus on value adding process enhancements and championing user adoption.
They also bring instant credibility to the project and provide guidance to ensure that the common pitfalls are avoided so that the project stays on schedule and on budget.
To discuss any of the issues raised in this article or want help to fast track your Sage People implementation project, please call us on +44(0)1327 317701 or fill in the form and we will be in touch.