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  • Writer's pictureCasey Drew

When is the Perfect Time to Implement a Fit-for-Purpose IPR Solution?

At this time of year, organisations are experiencing the strain of gearing up for a new financial year while tying up the loose ends of the current. Although most of the planning is now largely done for next year with adoptions currently taking place, as highlighted in my recent article: From Excel to Fit-for-Purpose, this has likely reignited the pain and discomfort of current planning processes/systems—propelling many to contemplate the right time to take advantage of a fit-for-purpose solution to alleviate these challenges and re-invigorate the process.


At any given time, organisations will typically associate with one of these scenarios as their current state when considering a move to a new solution:


  1. Developing a new plan/strategy: seeking a solution to support the development and consultation process.

  2. An adopted plan already in place: aiming to implement a new solution in time for the first reporting cycle.

  3. Part-way through a planning cycle: looking to improve ongoing processes with immediate effect.


Regardless of where they align, none of these scenarios are inherently more favourable than the other, nor do they determine the success of an implementation. So why is this important? In my learned experiences consulting on these solutions and leading their technical implementations, many organisations perceive they need to ‘time the market’ and will often tie their transitions to a particular event with the aim of finding that perfect readiness window to make their move, losing sight of their initial drivers for change.


The key is understanding that there is no perfect moment to initiate improvements. As the old Chinese proverb goes, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." The critical factors in timing your transition should hinge on maintaining business continuity and your ability to navigate the implementation process to achieve the desired outcomes. In doing so, organisations can reap the benefits of a fit-for-purpose system earlier and avoid the risk of kicking the proverbial can down the road for the sake of perfect timing. Such factors that organisations should consider include:


Tailoring the right implementation approach

implementing a new solution while managing business-as-usual (BAU) activities is challenging and requires a thorough understanding of the operating landscape. Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) solutions offer a variety of flexible approaches, allowing for an agile, phased approach rather than an all-or-nothing implementation.


The flexibility in these approaches can bridge the gap between where an organisation is now in their planning cycles and help them to realise early value from their investments while making the meaningful steps toward where they want to be. Considering hybrid implementations such as maintaining the old system to phase-out reporting against existing plans while transitioning to the new one, or undertaking pilot phases with eager user groups or a new plan/strategy can also offer benefits to identify and address any potential roadblocks before a broader rollout.


Partnering with the right solution provider and considering the right strategy to minimise disruption can dramatically enhance the chances of implementation success and deliver long-term benefits in the adoption of the new solution.


Partnering with the right solution provider can dramatically enhance the chances of implementation success and deliver long-term benefits


Considering data migration and continuous reporting requirements

Where previous updates have been managed in spreadsheets or another system and continuous reporting is a key factor to maintaining continuity during a transition (which is the case for many organisations part-way through a planning cycle), mature IPR solutions like Envisio will provide the ability to migrate data and backdate updates to support this process.


Implementation approaches should consider this need versus starting fresh for a clean slate, as the time-to-value can be condensed, and the transition process made seamless for users. However, in doing so, project teams should ensure that the inefficiencies of the old systems are not replicated in the new through this process.


Procurement Timing

Rather than simply aligning procurement activities with budget availability—often tied to a new financial year, ensure you have factored reasonable time to implement and onboard users to support the intended change. Misjudging this timing for the sake of tying it to a particular event, can lead to rushed implementations and overlooked outcomes.


Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to an IPR implementation. The right timing depends on your organisation's specific circumstances and desired outcomes. Engage with solution providers early to discuss and tailor the right implementation approach to your needs and talk to other councils who have changed their processes as they will be able to offer valuable insights to help you through.


By considering all these factors and planning accordingly, you can dramatically improve the chances of a successful implementation, ensuring that your organisation can reaps the benefits of a fit-for-purpose system at the right time … which could be sooner than you realise.

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