Congratulations if you are part of the Corporate Finance team and started the process to select a new EPM Platform. The selection process and implementation is, if done properly, an exciting process. It’s probably your first time to be involved in selecting a new EPM Platform. If not, the last time was probably more than 10 years ago and lots of things changed in the past 10 years.
Let’s look at 3 key considerations when you are selecting a new EPM platform.
1. Stakeholders (internal and external)
Make sure you identify and involve all the relevant stakeholders, even if their role is, or perceived to be, small.
Who will ‘own’ and manage the new system, who are your users, and what are their main pain points? Who do you need to involve from IT, Procurement and Legal, and at what stage? What about external stakeholders like the different software vendors and implementation consultancies. Do you need a project manager or external advise? If so, who do you ask and how independent is the advice?
Forgetting to involve some of the stakeholders, or involving them too late can lead to significant delays in the process and sometimes to blocking issues. Every stakeholder is important and for a successful outcome it’s crucial to involve all stakeholders, understanding their needs and managing their expectations.
2. Requirements and Selection Criteria
Gathering the requirements and selection criteria might be seen as an easy part of the selection process. The functional requirements are important but often not the ultimate factor in the decision. Define all selection criteria and understand which criteria can be an instant selection knockout. If your maximum budget is €50k per year you don’t have to spend much time on solutions that start at €100k+. If your IT Security policy requires the data to be in the EU, you can skip the solutions where the data is hosted in the US.
Invest time to really experience the solutions through customized demos or workshops, take a good look ‘under the hood’ of the solution, and always include references into the selection criteria.
3. Time & Experience (or lack of)
Managing all the activities in the selection process is very time consuming, and you have to be very flexible. You have to constantly update your plan and actions and communicate with the different stakeholders. There is a lot of information to gather, to process, and to assess. If you already have a busy ‘day job’ it will be challenging to do everything thoroughly and timely.
To mix your role as the project lead and at the same time being one of the key stakeholders might not be a good idea. This can result in conflicts in interests and time constraints. Consider using an independent project manager. This might be a colleague from a different department or an external specialist.
TVR21 is an independent EPM/CPM Advisory company. We help corporates across EMEA with EPM/CPM Advisory Services, Vendor- and Product Selections, Project Management and Quality Assurance. If you want to learn more about EPM Selection processes or find out how we can help you with your EPM challenges don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.