As a Sage People preferred partner with over 110 Sage People implementation projects under our belt, we are often asked what is 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.
1.) Make sure your project has a quantifiable business case
2.) Think about the end-to-end business process rather than just the software features
3.) Ensure senior management buy-in
4.) Identify sufficient time is made available for the project
5.) Make sure your data is consistent and accurate
6.) Focus on user adoption and training early on in the project
1. 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.
2. Why is an end-to-end business process important?
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 at the outset parts maybe missed off, such as the on-boarding process.
3. 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.
- Heads… frequent, targeted communications to understand why the change is necessary.
- Hearts… belief that this is the right thing to do for the business and themselves personally.
- Hands… leading by example.
The importance of senior stakeholder commitment cannot be overstated in terms of fast tracking your implementation.
4. 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 you have budget constraints, you may have chosen to have your own team deliver the project. In these instances, it’s important to make sure that your team have the time available to them for 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 you are taking this approach be very clear on what tasks are to be performed and the level of skill required. If your team is expected to deliver the system themselves and they aren’t given the necessary time to receive coaching and training your implementation could actually end up costing more than it would had you involved an implementation expert with years of experience who could provide your system efficiently and with the benefit of the experience of other customers and system best practice.
5. 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.
6. 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 to ensure that stakeholders buy into the new system more quickly. Communicate 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 to ensure that 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.
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.
Outsource for less headaches and more support
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.
If the the importance of these six elements are understood at the outset, you will be better able to ensure that your Sage People implementation stays on track.
To discuss any of the issues raised in this article or want help preparing for your implementation project, please call us on (01908) 030360 or contact us and we will be in touch.