In recent years, there has been a major shift in how business
leverage technology to automate and streamline procurement processes. Once regarded
as a “nice to have”, technology implementations are now seen as a vital solution
companies need to transform their business for the future. An unfortunate side
effect of this thinking is that technology, specifically Procure to Pay
technology is the silver bullet that can miraculously fix underlying gaps and inefficiencies
in current business processes. This is where the role of a consultant comes
into play, as the software and tools that will best support your existing P2P
processes are often the most challenging to build and successfully implement. It
can be normal for organizations to initially balk at the idea of bringing in a consultant
to assist with new tech implementation or a digital transformation project.  There may be doubt that the consultant will
fully understand their nuanced policies, or they may have had negative experiences
with consultants in the past. However, a consultant with the right knowledge and
skills can not only enhance your tech implementation initiative, but also save
you time and money in the process. Below we will explore 6 ways consultants add
value to your P2P tech implementation projects:



Experience with the entire Source-to-Pay life-cycle

A good consultant will bring a wealth of knowledge
to the table, including a holistic understanding of the entire procurement life-cycle.
This knowledge gives a consultant a good understanding of how an organization’s
Sourcing, Procurement and Accounts Payable teams should interface and how
technology can best support that. A tenured consultant also understands industry
benchmarks, best practices and how your organization measures up.



Provide tailored solutions to nuanced business processes and challenges

An unfortunate trend we often see is companies purchasing and
implementing expensive out of the box Procure to pay solutions. Many of these
projects either fail or do no live up to initial expectations, as organizations
often lack the experience needed to implement P2P software and adapt its functionalities
around existing policy and procure. Involving a consulting team at the beginning
of any implementation ensures that business policies are defined, understood,
and documented. Software should then be configured around these processes allowing
for tools to work in a way that business users understand and expect.



Set expectations and help realize expected
benefits   

A good consultant will help define and measure expectations and
benefits before implementation of technology even begins. This is done by
establishing a baseline strategy, identifying, and communicating with key stakeholders
and documenting the objectives of the end users who will be using the
technology daily. An aggregation of feedback from these decisions should allow consultants
to communicate what benefits can be realized from implementation and how realistic
achieving these benefits will be within the scope of the project.


Establish effective change management strategies
There are three factors that must always be considered in a successful
software implementation: People, Process, and Technology. As mentioned earlier,
many organizations fall for the trap of solely focusing on the technology piece
sometimes without considering, process or most importantly, the people who will
be using the software. A fully functional software implementation is just as
much of a failure if there has been no change management strategy in place to support
the end user’s understanding and embracement of new technology. A part of a consultant’s
role is helping to determine how change should be communicated, and who are
they key people who need to understand these changes.


Identify problem areas or gaps in processes

It is rare to not run into a business process or established
policy that and out-of-box, or customized solution cannot fix. This can often
lead to difficult or challenging discussions, but it is the job of a consultant
to be transparent when your organization runs into such cases. Often these discussions
can lead into identify gaps in processes or inefficiencies in ways of working
the organizations have simply adapted to. A consultant’s knowledge of industry
best practices and lessons learned from previous clients.


Gauge maturity and assist with future growth

What we have frequently seen in implementation projects with
no consultative engagement is that once these projects finish, the client is
often left hanging. They have invested time, energy, resources and most importantly,
money into a large technology overhaul but are left in the dark when determining
next steps. How can they measure the ROI of this implementation? How can they determine
the success of the project not only at its conclusion, but two, five, or even ten
years down the line? A consultant can help determine your procurement and AP maturity
before and post implement. A great consultant establishes a relationship with their
clients and help them establish and ongoing road map for continuous improvement
of the technology and the processes that drive it.
For more information about digital
transportation with a consultative approach, please contact Corcentric’s
Advisory team at our 
website.

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