Recently I was asked by a user group to present on the success factors for selecting and implementing a new financial or operational system.
This is part 1 of the list my team and users we consulted came up with. It’s not exhaustive but we believe these factors have proven over time to be integral for successful projects.

Below are six success factors for selecting and implementing new financial and operational systems.

1. Know your environment
Look to the future, understand the challenges and forces of disruption that will impact your market and customers.

2. Requirement analysis
Be prepared to challenge the status quo, don’t accept that what we currently do is best practice (it rarely is) or otherwise why would you be considering changing?

3. Establish your success criteria early
What are the outcomes you want and how will these be measured?

Financial measures such as return on investment or cost reductions are too narrow as they ignore the strategic outcomes such as delivering on your strategy, aligning the organisation, reducing process time and creating an agile and innovative organisation need to be top of mind. Your success criteria serve as leading indicators that will allow you to meet the forces of disruption head on and create a framework for decision making during the project.

4. Right People
Get the right people on the bus, be democratic but ensure they have the authority to make things happen and are not sitting in the past with blinkers on. Too often we have seen projects derailed by operational staff who use their social power as a handbrake on change.

5. Build and ensure that management buy in is a given
Management set the tone and the values that the project inherits and their active support is essential.

6. Governance – give it real meaning and purpose
It’s more than risk management. You need to ensure that roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are documented and live through how decisions are made and executed.