After nearly one year on a project and one successful global roll out of an eRecruitment system using Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, namely Taleo, I am ready to embark on a different kind of delivery project, having a baby boy in a few weeks time.
Before I go however, I wanted to put down some thoughts on implementing SaaS solution in a large global multi clustered financial organisation. Here are 5 key pitfalls to avoid and good practice to adopt when embarking on such a large and complex endeavour:
- Requirements gathering
- Ensure every part of the business in every country the system is due to be rolled out is engaged and consulted right at the start and well before the functional specification of the system is built. This is usually done using localisation workshops focusing on local requirements that cannot be globalised such as legal/regulatory requirements in different countries.
- It is also highly recommended to identify key super users in each locality/business cluster to act as points of contact between the project and the business. One of the main causes of project delays is not having access to local information and the right people to answer questions or perform testing.
- Vendor management
- It is key to secure the correct expertise from the vendor delivering the solution, especially for SaaS/hosted solutions as opposed to an on-premises installed software system, as they are the ones with the in depth knowledge of the system being installed.
- Having the right expertise from the vendor will ensure that all of those business requirements are successfully implemented , within the scope of the customisation permitted of course.
- Technology solutions and integrations
- Clearly defined functional specification of the system that is well communicated to the development and implementation team is absolutely crucial to the success of the project. Ensure that once this specification detailing exactly what is being delivered within the solution (organisations may opt out of certain features offered by a system upgrade due to early development bugs or not enough testing performed) is signed off by a senior committee (HR Leadership Team in case of eRecruitment for instance) that no changes are allowed until the next iteration/upgrade of the system.
- Integration with other systems such as SAP which holds the basic employee data for instance can prove to be difficult at best, especially if that data is ill maintained. Therefore it is key to establish the exact integration requirements, which system and what data at the start of the build and engage with the system administrators.
- Another watch out are any legacy systems within an organisation (such as iGrasp in our case) that are being replaced by the global system, specifically data migration and compatibility.
- Testing the system
- Testing can involve a long and often confusing array of activities from TRA’s, OAT’s, SIT’s through to UAT’s and PDT’s – decide which one of these testing phases are crucial and what they’re there to achieve.
- Ensure the correct testers from business are allocated to each of these to optimise the output and catch any bugs/defects in the system prior to implementation.
- And don’t forget to test the process as well as the system. It is not enough to show the system works, it needs to work within the overall recruitment process designed for the organisation.
- Cutover and transition to BAU
- Communication is key – ensure changes to both the system and the process are clearly communicated to the business.
- Set up the BAU Support Model well before the system is actually rolled out to ensure smooth transition from project to the business.
But most importantly, remember that without a buy-in from the business and support from the Leadership the success of any system implementation could be diminished. Therefore it pays to get the plan right at the very start and align to the overall strategy of the programme.