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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Daylen Chambliss

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