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The blind side hindering successful EPM solution delivery

It’s not only hiring the best consulting firm that will lead a project towards success. It’s not only the knowledge of the consultants on the floor that will create a robust and sustainable solution. And it’s not only about delivering a working solution on time and on budget.
 
So here is a legitimate question: what else is there? One would be surprised how much more there is to a successful implementation of an EPM solution
 
Consider the following points:
 
         1)      User adoption
         2)      Workforce effectiveness
         3)      Process documentation (and compliance)
         4)      Change Management
         5)      Organization knowledge
         6)      Reducing Testing Efforts
 
Let’s pick point 1: User Adoption. It’s frustrating investing into a brand new shiny EPM application able to support and enhance your closing & reporting cycle and have end-users complaining and rejecting it. In all of us, there is a certain degree of change reluctance, and it becomes evident when a change is brutal and impactful. A gradual involvement can be the key of user adoption.
 
Let’s move on point 2: Effectiveness. It’s contradictory for and end-user to accept a change which causes its work effectiveness to be reduced. Everybody faces a learning curve. Initiating the curve before the go-live of an EPM solution is a good trick to have end-users confidence at a sufficient level when they will be required to get into action.
 
Point 3: Process Documentation. Documentation is always the last stage of an EPM implementation. Company politics demand a working solution but not an accepted solution so at times they don’t consider the power of end-user documentation in relation to the total cost of ownership of an application. Documentation is key for user adoption (point 1), workforce effectiveness (point 2) and keeping an optimal level of internal knowledge available, and all other points to follow.
 
Point 4: Change Management. Does reaching go-live mean that the change is reaching the end? Is performance management a static process? If one believes yes, we suggest to strongly challenge the business case behind the EPM implementation. Change Management is a discipline implicit to Performance Management which has to be flexible enough to adapt to the businessand follow market developments. Setting up a process that supports fluidly the changes and pushes them towards the end-user community is key for the survival of an EPM application.
Point 5: Organizational Knowledge. All companies experience a certain degree of employee turnover. Some of them are unfortunate and suffer from turnover peaks at crucial times of a project implementation.  Best practice has taught us not to rely on a one time training class to empower key-users to take over responsibility for the EPM application. We strongly believe that a one-time training course is never sufficient, rather a continuos involvement can transform key-users to power-users and be able to disseminate organizational awareness and promotion of the change itself. 
 
Capturing and documenting system transactions, test scripts, system processes, process flows, creating simulations, introducing best practices, involving users to edit the documentation content, provide just-in-time support are just a fraction of the possibilities that can be introduced to complement training bootcamps and key/end-user courses.
 
Point 6: Reducing Testing Efforts. In many implementations, testing is not carried out enough prior go-live or going to production with a simple change. There is nothing more frustrating for end-users to request a change and have it implemented wrongly. Test plans are easy to create and deploy manually but very hard to maintain. Consider the possibility to capture test steps automatically, eliminate manual writing errors, create reusable documentation, accelerate testing cycles. It sounds like science fiction but there are tools available to support this.
 
Our Top Dimension architects have a long experience in EPM implementations and a good understanding of project dynamics. As such we have introduced, according to project and user community size, the usage of user productivity kits in the past and we will continue to do so.
 
These handy kits are a perfect complement to any implementation. They offer advanced but user friendly features to create and maintain a Learning Management System (LMS) which can tackle all of the previously mentioned challenges.
 
Discover a good user productivity kit: Discover what the Oracle UPK is all about here.
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