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Speed Your Source-to-Pay ROI

The North American Shared Services Leaders' Summit held Q42015 was a terrific opportunity for companies to learn how to improve processes and gain value from shared services.  At SharedServicesLink, Krista Williams compiled a series of 40 key takeaway points  from the various presentations at the Summit she said “were generating buzz at the event.”  Of all the issues Williams noted, the ones that resonated most important to me were those that addressed the need for effective change management.

Focus on the process.

At Direct Commerce, our experience suggests that applying new technologies and processes delivers tremendous results – lowering costs, improving financial performance, and optimizing operations by automating tedious manual paper-based processing.  The most challenging aspects of achieving these goals aren’t necessarily based on technologies, but on making sure organizations focus on effective change management.  As was described at the Shared Services Leaders Summit, 75 percent of the cost of many projects represents process re-engineering and data cleansing – with only 25 percent of the cost related to IT.  So when systems don’t deliver as promised, that can easily be because organizations didn’t focus enough attention on those process issues – that 75 percent portion of the project.

Provide clear documentation and consistent messaging.

Williams pointed out that one presentation at the Summit covered the importance of consistent documentation.  Here at Direct Commerce, we have always recognized the importance of documentation and consistent messaging, which is so essential to effectively managing change. Requirements must be defined. Processes must be documented in both a narrative form and through process flow diagrams. The “why, what, and how” for processes must be identified.  In addition, Williams mentioned the importance of taking an “operational excellence” approach to process simplification, standardization, and scaling to meeting project objectives – another aspect of change management we certainly embrace.

Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Finally, Williams pointed out that getting stakeholder buy-in is not a one-time event, suggesting that ongoing updates with executive leadership groups are essential – and that requires monitoring KPI’s and communicating those results, repeatedly, to executive sponsors.  At Direct Commerce, we consider it extremely important to create internal alignment across your entire organization. Be sure to align buyers, help desks, procurement, treasury, and other business units in your organization to your initiative – and take steps to make sure you’re consistently keeping your all stakeholders informed and updated throughout the project.  Technology is essential to process improvement, no doubt, but don’t underestimate the vital importance of putting effective change management processes in place.  Delivering ROI is not just about the technology, it is about effective change management.