Do you know what questions should ask when selecting a Finance consulting firm to implement your new planning and budgeting application? In order to have a successful implementation that is delivered on-time and on-budget, here are some important questions you should know the answers to.
- Which do we need - diagnostics or implementation?
It’s important to know where in the planning and budgeting process you need help. A diagnostician will help you make a decision or develop an implementation plan. An executer will implement all or part of the plan.
You’ll want to look for a consulting company that has a history of performing successful evaluations and implementations. They will understand how to effectively gather requirements, create a global picture of the needs of your organization and provide a solution that meets your desired outcome. That understanding means that their implementation teams meet the expectations defined in your plans.
- What is the project approach?
A highly iterative approach, where the consultants develop a solution and then you jointly refine throughout the project, produces the best result. The company should have a project design methodology that is centered on the business user. Finance technology is only effective when Finance people know how to use it, so it is important to build the project around them.
- Do you provide road mapping, so we are meeting today’s needs and also planning for the future?
Your next budgeting and forecasting solution should provide appropriate levels of customization and scalability, and be able to integrate with existing systems where required. Any needs analysis should address both managerial and financial needs. The result will align with the goals of the business and meet the needs of the stakeholders so your budget and forecast can become management tools to track strategic initiatives.
- Will you provide recommendations for changing and updating our business processes?
Business processes will have to change to gain efficiencies and leverage the new platform, or the Finance team will find themselves back to Excel and printouts. You should expect recommendations around application calculations and dynamic reporting that can adapt to changing requirements.
Other options to consider include choosing static or rolling budgets and forecasts, driver-based budgets and forecasts, and what-if scenarios for modeling and predictive analysis.
- Should we move to the Cloud? How can we secure our data?
Moving your financial applications to the Cloud means lower costs for finance and EPM infrastructure, and lower costs for head count. Both Finance and IT are relieved of the worry surrounding managing a complex application.
With this in mind, make sure to ask about the hosting provider’s controls for data breaches, credential and authentication management, and the security of APIs.
- Do your consultants have experience and expertise in the financial sector?
When you are interviewing consultants, be sure to find out if the team that will do the implementation is made up of Finance professionals with real world experience. This hands-on, real-life expertise is crucial to a successful project implementation.
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- What happens after Go-Live? How easy is it to set up and train users?
There is no better way to implement business process or systems change than by ensuring significant business user participation. It is important to have business users involved before, during and after any engagement.
Ask what processes will be in place for ensuring that your staff get the right knowledge, perspective and hands-on work to be 100% proficient with the new tool. The project should be designed to ensure significant knowledge transfer and mentoring throughout the process, to facilitate ongoing active administration of any process or system once the engagement is over.
The Strafford team has deep experience with both Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle EPM Cloud, as well as SAP BPC. We are ready to help your organization with product selection, project implementation and program management for deployment. You deserve an on-time and on-budget implementation or upgrade.