Implementing a new solution can be a very hard task
Introducing new technology to employees takes time. Of course, one of the benefits of a spend management or sourcing tool is cutting down the time procurement employees spend on paperwork, allowing them to take on more strategic roles. But even when new technology is intended to help employees do their jobs faster or smarter, corporate culture and limited advanced planning can get in the way of a smooth rollout.
From Areva to Whirlpool, Ivalua has worked with procurement leaders at global companies to implement tailored spend management solutions. Along the way, we’ve come to understand the specific challenges multinational organizations face when adopting new technology—and have pinpointed a few ways to help.
Whether your company is considering, or in the midst of introducing a new procurement or spend managing solution, you will need to be prepared.
Here are five quick tips to make the process a bit less painful:
1. Do a readiness check: To guarantee a successful rollout across multiple locations and thousands of users, your business and IT infrastructure has to be ready for change. If each region has technology running on separate code, implementing a new company-wide procurement solution won’t be enough to mask the chaos underneath. Uniting your back-end technology, processes and data early on hedges against internal friction later. That’s the approach that a company like Banco do Brasil took, implementing their system in the U.S. and in South America first to make sure they were ready before extending a solution globally.
2. Earn executive buy-in: The bigger the company, the more important it is to have executive-level support. Whether it’s the chief procurement officer or a handful of c-suite members and VPs, top leadership must be involved in communicating the project’s purpose and goals throughout the ranks. CACI, for example, worked on getting internal support first before implementing Ivalua’s Source-to-Pay solution. Doing so assures the project manager that he has help and support from his hierarchy when he needs it, throughout the entire implementation.
3. Prioritize rollout “sprints”: Your new spend management tool doesn’t need to accommodate every niche user need on day one. Plan your implementation in phases. Identify features that will be used by the widest group, and focus on those first. More specialized widgets and workflows can be integrated as time goes on.
4. Appoint local project representatives: Before pursuing any technology rollout, global companies need to designate a primary point of contact or pseudo-project manager for each region. These representatives will be charged with educating their territory’s users about the new procurement solution and overseeing all day-to-day project communication. Gathering this inner circle of stakeholders helps maintain consistency and promote knowledge sharing across different office locations.
5. Tailor change management to each audience: Adopting new technology across a global enterprise is an exercise in organizational change. Aside from a technical rollout strategy, large companies need a thoughtful plan for acclimating their various internal groups to the new procurement platform. In some instances, specialized partners might be called upon to help. A large company such as Whirlpool, for example, successfully leveraged a partner for customized training sessions for buyers and suppliers. Ivalua works with many industry partners that provide this type of service.
Implementing a new procurement solution is never an easy process, especially when doing so across a multinational organization, but by taking the proper steps ahead of time to get things in order procurement executives can ensure the transition is as smooth and painless as possible.