In part 3 of this series, Redesigning your budget process, I discussed the due diligence of a U.S. based manufacturing company’s budget process and their decision to select a budget solution. Their primary drivers were heavily leveraging excel, a many month timeline, laborious processes and difficulty to maintain credibility in the process. Following their system selection and due diligence process we have moved to the design and implementation phase. In the final post of this series, I will discuss the implementation phase of redesigning your budget process.
Based on the information gathered during the needs assessment, we had a jump start on designing and configuring our software. Again, reaching out to our subject matter experts and the vendor implementers we reviewed our, “must haves,” and, “nice to haves.” We shared our process flows, required data fields and discussed in detail the ways in which the software worked versus the way we did things today. Based on these discussions, we were able to define the parameters of our implementation plan:
- Project plan. Defines the overall goal, in this case to meet our specific budget and forecasting needs. This includes tasks for the software vendor, internal resources and third-party integrators. The plan is used to keep everyone on track and to confirm that dependencies are being met.
- Communication plan. Establishes the information and communication methods/needs of the steering committee, team and the impacted employee base. While the team met weekly, an email update was sufficient for the steering committee unless an event or milestone was achieved.
- Change management. In this case we wanted few, if any customizations, we wanted to change our processes to match the software when at all possible. To help meet that goal, all customizations had to be approved in advance.
- Issue & risk management plan. Issues were raised to the project team and steering committee as needed. Empowering the project team to make decisions is imperative to keep the project on time and at budget.
- Quality & vendor management. Managing the vendor, holding them to the plan and the SLA’s with ongoing quality check points is integral to a successful project and ongoing relationship.
Developing a good plan was key to completing the project on time and within budget. After the first budget cycle additional reports were requested but the users found the new application to be much better than the prior manual process. Due to the dedication of the project team and management’s support the organization was able to successfully implement a solution that increased efficiency, meets their current needs and allows for future growth.