Hello Vena Community!
I'm a Technical Enablement Manager at Vena, with an extensive background on leading implementations for different types of clients on many verticals. Today I want to share some insights on best practices for implementing FP&A Software.
As a term, people, process, and technology (PPT) refers to the methodology in which the balance of people, process, and technology drives action: People perform a specific type of work for an organization using processes (and often, technology) to streamline and improve these processes.
When applied to FP&A, this framework can help you achieve harmony within an organization and is often used to successfully implement and leverage new technologies. It's important to understand that we need to have the right people and a good process in place before trying to leverage new technologies. Technology will make a good process work better, but it can also make a bad process work worse.
In the following sections we will discuss some strategies and tips to help you have a smooth implementation.
The first step from the people perspective should be to establish ownership of who owns what parts of the implementation. Implementations are often iterative, and the client will be required to have people available regularly to verify that their financial and accounting data has been loaded correctly, that the reports produce consistent numbers, and so on. Also, the client will need to have their IT department aligned to make any changes required in their infrastructure to ensure the solution runs smoothly.
During the implementation, it is critical as well that the client is involved as early and often as possible in the analysis and validation of reports and templates. These are the main points of contact between a regular end user and the solution, so it's very important to ensure that they work according to the organization's needs and requirements.
Finally, once the solution goes live, encouraging and tracking user adoption will help the client realize value from the solution quickly, as well as identifying pain points that need to be addressed to maximize the benefits of the solution in their financial and accounting process.
From the process perspective, it's critical to identify the desired impact on the business as early as possible. Is the business looking to reduce human error? To have centralized, cloud based consistent financial and accounting numbers? To leverage AI for budgeting and forecasting? Vena can cover all these needs but having them stated early and clearly will ensure a smooth implementation and transition. Changing goals in the middle of an implementation will cause unnecessary delays and cost increases.
Bring the relevant stakeholders along at every step of the implementation also helps having a smooth process. This connects to the People dimension mentioned above. Skipping one step or person may jeopardize the integrity of the implementation, due to the highly integrated and collaborative nature of modern Finance and Accounting teams.
During the implementation, these elements will connect to the build of the Workflow in Vena. The Vena Workflow emulates the internal client's processes, and aims to provide the right reports and templates, to the right people, at the right time. It allows for continuous improvement and optimization, as the organization gets used to leveraging Vena, and it is a key part in the automation benefits it brings.
From the technology perspective, it's very important to have present, since the beginning of the implementation, the IT team's members that have ownership over the network and computing infrastructure, and administrative access over the source systems where Vena will connect to obtain the Actual transactional data. These personnel should verify that their network and PCs have the requisite configuration to run Vena; and that the initial setup for Vena to be able to load data from their source systems is complete.
Data Load and ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) are important to do correctly since the beginning, because loading the correct numbers from the beginning will facilitate the building of the reports and templates as needed by the business. During this phase it's also important for the client to validate which transactions, and which fields of those transactions are required to load in reports and templates, which ones can stay solely as extra information available in drill tables, and which information is not necessary to load.
This is also a good opportunity for the client to do a thorough review of their current Chart of Accounts, and make any updates to ensure GAAP or IFRS compliance. This is a common step on this point of the process, as Vena's graphical interface provides a user friendly and detailed view of the Chart of Accounts.
Finally, if there is already another system running that will be replaced with Vena, having a comprehensive plan for transitioning happens in this phase, and should be reviewed by all the relevant stakeholders, including end users, which will facilitate transition and user adoption.
I hope you found this useful! Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
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