HCM Implementation: 7 Tips to Avoid the Chaos

Communication is the key to success in most situations and lack of it is a huge factor in most failures. This is true for HCM implementations also. When evaluating an HCM consultant, you will speak to several parties over time, including sales representatives, account executives, product managers, solution consultants, support managers, and so on. This can be overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating. By the time you have selected the solution you wish to implement, you may no longer be as open to hearing about the implementation itself.

It is all too often that the investment in a new HCM platform takes precedence over the actual implementation of the solution itself. You would think that this investment would include the “best” implementation; however, that is not the case the majority of the time. Many organizations rely on the HCM vendor to handle the project management of the implementation. As a result of the lengthy sales process involving many sets of hands (some with little to no accountability), key needs may be lost in translation or just plain lost. This oftentimes leaves a customer feeling that they have had a failed implementation after go-live, and yet signed off on every phase of the project, with little to no recourse to correct the mistakes without paying for a re-implementation.

According to the 2009 Standish CHAOS report, 68 percent of all IT projects fail due to poor planning. In fact, a poorly implemented solution can cost you much more both up front and over time. Here are some tips that, used properly, can help you be in the “32 percent”:

Tip 1: Project Expectations

Set proper expectations upfront regarding timeline and responsibilities. Decide upfront, very clearly and in writing, what will constitute “project success.”

Tip 2: Planning

Rushed implementations and cutting corners happen when proper planning is not achieved. Typically, deadlines cannot be pushed without significant consequences. Plan thoroughly from the beginning, and then keep planning throughout.

Tip 3: Data Conversion & Import/Export

In collaboration with your chosen vendor, make a determination as to who owns “data” obligations for the project: the vendor or you (the client). This should be taken into account in project and resource planning.

Tip 4: Data Clarification

Often clients are not made fully aware in the sales process that data is a key foundation of the implementation. The vendor is incentivized to downplay the risk and level of effort, thus the costs and resource commitment required is obscured. This results in late-breaking surprises and error-prone rush last minute scrambling. Avoid this by directly addressing data issues and needs during the sales process.

Tip 5: Data Prep

Data preparation for import is a manual and labor-intensive effort. Sometimes the effort needs to be repeated, for example during initial training/user acceptance, during parallel testing, and for the final go-live cutover requiring retracing the steps a second or third time. Engage outside resources if and when needed in order to reduce the time, cost, iterations, and internal team lift.

Tip 6: Testing

Inadequate testing can lead to results not meeting expectations, bad experiences, re-implementation, and more. Sufficient quality assurance testing should be required to validate the configuration and support a smooth and pleasant go-live.

Tip 7: Training

Ensure all parties are aware of the training requirements for the success of the implementation, and then make sure the vendor supports your team during the training process.

No matter where you are with your implementation, we can help by assessing your current state and working together to design a tailored roadmap to your desired state. Contact us online, call 904.719.8264 or email info@theptsteam.com.

Author: Don Coleman

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