Article written by Candice Weston, Manager of Project Management
Beginning on the path of implementation may be to some, a bit like falling down a rabbit hole after running to catch a White Rabbit continuously proclaiming, “I’m late, I’m late. For a very important date. No time to say hello, good-bye. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” The sense of urgency to catch a fantastical character like that of C.R. Lewis’ White Rabbit in the iconic Alice in Wonderland is similar to knowing where to start on a new implementation. During this journey of software discovery, data migration, system configuration, testing, and Go-Live, it is no wonder that we may feel like we have fallen through the depths of the earth to find ourselves amongst bizarre, comical, and perilous creatures and situations. It is important to employ the right guide to lead you away from the Queen of Hearts and back onto a path that is steady and true.
So how do we prepare ourselves for a path of thoughtful decision rather than scurried response? Organizational readiness led by an experienced guide is the golden key to preparedness. Approaching the project with forethought of process, system, resources, and a vehicle to manage all these changes is critical to planning for strategic versus reactive implementation.
Elements to Consider: Planning for Implementation
To prepare your organization for the challenge of migrating or employing a new HCM system or increasing utilization of that systems’ vast functionality, leaders should consider some of the pre-planning objectives when preparing for implementation of functionality. What should be considered when planning for an implementation?
Define why you are looking for change
There are many reasons why Clients choose a new HCM system or are looking to implement addition functionality within their current systems. Some of these include:
- Marketplace Changes
- Competitive Edge
- Product Changes
- Technology Advances
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Leadership Goals
- System Needs
- Increased Efficiencies
When planning for your digitization needs:
- Plan early for mapping your system architecture
- Include input from all organizational business units/departments
- Clearly define processes and systems that need to be combined/reworked/eliminated
Ready the company for change
It is imperative that as a company embarks on a large magnitude project, they work to effectively develop steps to address and manage that change.
Why wouldn’t a company manage change?
To employ an effectiveness program for practitioners, employees, and managers a well written change management plan will go a long way toward readying the company. Some merits will include:
- A formal approach to training
- Value to an organization through empowerment of employees
- Increased engagement and better adoption of the system or functionality
- Alignment of organizational goals
- Cultivation of documentation and communication
Planning for a Project
Project planning is critical to making sure the path is clearly defined, the timelines understood, the players and decision makers specified, and communication defined and aplenty.
The tea party cannot begin without the following:
Implementing New Systems
Understanding how you support an implementation through Client-side tasks is sometimes overwhelming. Who will cover what, how, and in what order?
Questions you will need answered to effectively implement include:
- Data are the building blocks for your system – how will this be extracted, is the data “clean”?
- What is the flow down effect of decisions made during configuration?
- What criteria should be included in testing scenarios? Who will test, what should they test, what are my quality gates?
- Are we truly ready to Go-Live? What outstanding issues do we still have and how critical are they to our process?
- What remains to be cleaned up? Who do I work with to resolve any open issues?
In her trip through Wonderland, Alice had the detriment of meeting a guide in the form of a White Rabbit. Thankfully, Alice had the good experience of meeting other characters who put her back in the road of discovery. While we laugh at a child’s tale and watch in wonder the antics of the characters within, it’s apropos to the journey we may take in our own lives. Going down the path of experience versus one of danger and unpredictability is one that is as undesirable as remaining 10 feet tall in 8-foot houses. To navigate the path with wisdom, sometimes one seeks the advice of those who have traveled the path ahead of them & know where to lead.
How Can PayTech Help?
PayTech is a premiere HCM consulting firm in North America providing companies with immediate bandwidth, scalable solutions and experience-driven support. Our tenured Consultants have over 20 years’ experience in the HR, Payroll and HCM systems industry and are subject matter experts in these areas.
Our Implementation services are meant to be flexible and scalable, providing clients with both strategic and tactical support designed for strong company performance, operational efficiency, and client satisfaction. We bring a collaborative, non-threatening, relationship-building approach to lead organizations through a streamlined implementation. Our holistic approach to an Implementation includes:
We help organizations plan for data cleansing, full utilization of the selected or optimized HCM system, sunsetting of software, current and future change management needs. We can also engage to make these changes in advance of the HCM implementation, offering tactical support designed to align and standardize businesses with an end goal of minimizing organizational challenges.
PayTech can manage the process of gathering needs and requirements, serving as the liaison to your selected Vendor to ensure accurate and timely delivery of information. Key strategic support will include system, industry, and best practice recommendations that will help guide understanding of downstream effects of decisions made in this phase of the project.
During this phase we can get very tactical, providing hands on extraction of data from legacy systems, population and validation of import templates, and testing of migrated data. We will also assist your team with decisions on system configuration, such as organizational hierarchy, security levels, table structures, and workflow processes.
Testing and Auditing
PayTech can assist with completing the quality gateways of User Acceptance Testing and parallel payroll(s), either by continuing with the implementation support model described above or we can jump right in to help during this phase. We are adept at defining criteria and creating and executing test scenarios for a full organizational test plan.
We can assist with a holistic approach to your companies change management needs including training personnel (“train the trainer” approach), and developing innovative, open and transparent communications that foster employee engagement and aid in workforce readiness.
Production and Post Go-Live
If you need help with determining whether you are ready to go live in your production environment, PayTech can assist you with making a confident Go/No-Go decision. We can advise and provide tactical support on critical issues that arise during Go-Live, getting you and the team across the finish line. PayTech can also action and resolve issues that were not closed at Go-Live, aiding with transition to the Vendor support teams.
We Can Help!
PayTech provides strong leadership, excellent communication, multi-product knowledge, and industry experience to lead your team through a successful implementation project.