Duty of Care
Behind-the-Scenes Tips to Successful Automation Planning: An SAP Concur Conversations Podcast with Flexso
When your organization purchases an automation tool, it’s tempting to assume that once it’s in place, everything will work perfectly. But in reality, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into preparing for any tool. Planning in key areas, such as change management and systems integration, is essential to a successful implementation.
Implementation partner and reseller Flexso helps customers integrate SAP solutions for a wide range of business lines. Jeanne Dion, Vice President of the Value Teams at SAP Concur, spoke with Roeland Vanbeselaere, Project Manager of SAP SuccessFactors and Concur at Flexso—a recent SAP Concur Partner Innovation Award winner—about what organizations and their partners can do during the planning process to smoothly build and implement automated, back-office finance systems.
Change Management Happens—Let’s Plan for It
One way to help an automation project succeed is to include change management and training requirements in the project plan at the start, rather than as an afterthought. “Wherever you implement a tool, you can develop it in the best way, but it needs to be used in the correct way as well by the business,” says Vanbeselaere. And your employees “need to accept it in their day-to-day activities.” It’s partly a matter of preparing an organization for change, creating clear training materials, and making sure stakeholders know the training will be required to best optimize a new tool. That way, no one is surprised during or after a project if there’s something new to learn.
Involve the Right People
Another way to help an automation project succeed is to know from the beginning who needs to be involved with the project so you can include them from the get-go. For example, multiple departments may need to be aligned, including HR, finance, IT, and procurement. If you’re implementing an SAP Concur solution, external partners, such as a travel agency or credit card companies, may also be involved. Identifying clear business owners and resources upfront will save headaches down the road.
Be Ready to Integrate
While systems integration is often not visible to all the end users, it can make life easier for them, and it pays to plan for it upfront. For example, aligning HR and finance data can help organizations do away with manual processes and win back time for more strategic pursuits. “It’s in the small things,” says Vanbeselaere, like being able to log in smoothly and swiftly to back-office finance systems, especially as a first-time employee on the job. “That’s so important for the end users and also the back offices.”
Partner Up for Greater Success
Resource planning is vital to any project plan. Partners such as Flexso, which has 450 consultants around the world focused on SAP solutions, can fill in the gaps when it comes to the technical knowledge needed to successfully implement a new automation tool. “A partner can come in and really enhance the experience for you by providing that resource expertise and the special skills that you need to make these projects successful,” says Dion. Supplementing native expertise helps free up time for an organization to concentrate on strategy.
“It’s always important that the client is in the driver’s seat,” says Vanbeselaere. “We’re there to guide them on how to [make] the change, how to do the training, and really teach them on how to make improvements on that.”