This content was made possible by a collaboration with the team at JAGGAER.
For as many times as we have run implementation projects, they are still fraught with friction and frustration. Worst of all, most of the mistakes that occur are the same – over and over and over. The time has come for procurement to attack those issues directly, focusing just as much on what NOT to do as what to invest time and energy in.
I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with the JAGGAER team on a whitepaper that gathers and shares the best observations from their many collective years of implementation experience. And while I highly recommend that you read the full paper (available here), for me it all boils down to the following recommendations.
In procurement, we are so used to the short ‘P2P’ acronym that it is easy to forget procure-to-pay encompasses a series of business processes that are ultimately supported with one system. In order for those processes to flow, the data they rely upon and create has to be unified from beginning to end. Always avoid any implementation choices that require data sets to be handled differently.
We all want our implementations to be successful – so much so that we’re often willing to accept exceptions and workarounds that quickly become very painful (and somewhat embarrassing) once we try to roll the technology out at scale. Today’s manual integration point is tomorrow’s single point of failure, so be on guard against anything that people have to address manually for the technology to do its job.
Even if you are rolling out a P2P platform as a completely new piece of technology, some existing processes are bound to be changed. Always address those changes – and the people affected by them – head on, and make sure everyone is clear on the business case and potential ROI associated with adjustments they are asked to make.
The first P in P2P is directly customer-facing. Sure, procurement will make some purchases of their own, but the vast majority of the interaction with the P2P platform is bound to be with colleagues outside of procurement. If internal stakeholders feel that they have a voice in the process, they will be invested when the time comes to use the solution being implemented, resulting in higher satisfaction and better adoption.
If the first P requires procurement to invest in distributed buyers, the second – the pay – requires us to meet the needs of our suppliers. Procurement has made a concerted effort to improve supplier relationships over the last few years, but all of that will be for naught if we don’t pay them on time and give them visibility into the process. Working with a core group of supplier partners during P2P implementation can ensure a smoother journey for the entire supply base – strengthening rather than jeopardizing those hard-won partnerships.
A failure to respect the above DON’Ts is the cause of most rocky P2P implementation journeys. In fact, many implementation teams make more than one of these mistakes and spend months or even years trying to get past them. No one decides to bring in new technology for the implementation process itself, so take this opportunity to spare yourself the troubles that so many others have learned the hard way in the past. Plan for and execute a smooth implementation so you can start reaping the rewards of the platform sooner.