In recent months, CMF has seen an increasing number of middle-market consulting clients experiencing growth in excess of 20 percent per annum. This rapid growth, while positive, creates a serious need to concurrently upgrade company processes and systems. However, if a systems upgrade is pursued amid internal weaknesses such as lack of internal project ownership/leadership, inability to correctly identify process vs. system issues (i.e., balancing business process redesign with proper system programming and configuration), and significant internal resource constraints, a company risks delays, cost over-runs, and even project failures.
Our experienced financial and operational consultants recommend the following preventative actions:
- To avoid a lack of leadership/ownership when implementing growth-related systems changes, appoint a stakeholder senior manager as a project sponsor. This individual should hold weekly or bi-weekly steering committee meetings made up of senior management and related team members to ensure all key requirements, outputs, and implementation plans (milestones AND tactics) are clearly defined and executed. It is also advisable for the sponsor to over-communicate progress with all relevant departments.
- To more accurately resolve the company’s growth issues, all aspects of systems and processes must be considered at the outset of the upgrade, during definition of key requirements, outputs, and report parameters. It is vital to think beyond a packaged technology solution; any implementation must include a concurrent redesign of associated business processes.
- Boost team morale during these potentially stressful periods of change by acknowledging and proactively managing the extra workload employees may face. Systems projects tend to have a long duration, and the team needs to declare short-term wins to keep motivation at 110 percent. Be sure to stay attentive to professional development and hiring needs throughout your implementation plan.