Fighting Inertia in Financial Processes Part II: Five Steps for Selecting Technology that Conquers Financial Process Challenges
Technology inertia related to implementing new financial software for your ERP environment can occur for a variety of reasons, like cost overruns on past projects or purchased software that under- or over-delivered on features. In these situations, the results might have been rework, wasted effort, lost capital, and a hesitance to explore new technologies that could improve financial processes—all of which might have been avoided by selecting the right software at the outset of recognizing a business need.
In Part I of this blog series, we looked at five steps for identifying business problems you need to solve with financial technology, as well involving the right stakeholders and selling the project internally. Here, we’ll look at five steps for selecting the right technology and vendor to address business challenges.
1. Assemble Experts to Assess Software Solutions
After you have approval to implement new software, it’s time to determine the best vendor for your business problem. The first step is to tap into your stakeholders, project sponsors and advocates to identify a subset of subject matter experts (SMEs) who can define the project’s scope and roadmap. A few SME team members may need to devote up to 20% of their time at various junctures—and potentially for a duration of three to four months—to properly assess the software.
2. Create a Shortlist of Potential Vendors
Once your group of SMEs is assembled, you can start creating a short list of potential vendors. At this point, it’s important to understand the market of available solutions, as well as the gaps between these offerings and the software you already have or what your existing vendors offer. Here are some questions to consider:
- Can you use any of your current applications?
- Do any of your current vendors offer additional functionality?
- What’s on the open market?
As the SME team narrows the list, it may be a good time to consider input from analysts, consultants or other outsider resources.
3. Compare and Contrast Your Top Vendors
To asses your short list of vendors, it’s helpful to create a matrix that considers these important factors:
- Relevant features and functions
- Product reviews
- Third-party metrics
- Customer references and customer retention
- Analyst reports
A matrix with detailed information from each vendor on these factors will help you further narrow the field, as well as provide justification for how the SME group’s decisions were made.
4. Evaluate Your Top Candidates, Make Selection and Seek Sign Off
The evaluation phase is where the finance team and other stakeholders should ultimately get hands-on interaction with promising products. The stages of this phase can include:
- Proof of concept—Vendors demonstrate a list of specific scenarios that you request.
- Software trial—If the vendor solves your requested scenarios, you should be able to request a free trial of the software for your environment.
After making the final selection, it’s time to revisit the buying chain discussed in Part I of this blog series and make your case to key decision makers. You should approach them with solid ROI and KPI figures, as well as a synopsis of your search and selection process.
5. Drive Adoption with Interaction
Once you have final sign off, you’ll be eager to purchase licenses and install the software, but don’t forget to let stakeholders know what’s coming. A kickoff meeting with stakeholders should describe your rollout and transition plans in detail.
When finance teams contemplate selecting and changing to new software, it may seem less painful to stick with the status quo rather than adopt new software that creates more efficient financial processes. However, using the steps outlined in Part I and here in Part II of this blog shows that breaking down the selection process can make the transition less overwhelming, with a potential payout across the board.
For a detailed look at the 10 steps for Fighting Inertia in Financial Processes outlined in this blog series, download the eBook.