Why A HCM Cloud Implementation Partner Offers Greater Value

October 26, 2015
This article posted in: HRIS & Payroll Services  Tags: Implementation, Technology, HRIS/HCM, Cloud

HCM Cloud Implementation Partner

You and the HR team are through the better part of the sales cycle evaluating several Human Capital Management (HCM) cloud vendors. As the project team narrows down the list of vendors to a single HCM system and the provider that offers the right strategic value, investment costs and justification to convince the executive committee to go forward with the project, the lead provider candidate introduces the concept of using a HCM cloud implementation partner.

Over the course of the next several meetings, the vendor introduces you to their preferred HCM cloud implementation partner to discuss their deployment approach. The partner provides their background, prior customer success stories and their implementation methodology. As you listen, your mind sends up a flare and asks, “Why would I want to work with a 3rd party provider to implement this software?” As the partner continues to justify their value, you cannot help but ask yourself repeatedly, “How could a partner know more about deploying this system than the actual vendor themselves?” As the conversation continues, your concerns deepen as you learn that you will need to execute separate agreements, one for the subscription fees and another for the professional implementation services. You ask yourself, “Is this going to work?”

It would not be the first time that I have heard a client express concern about utilizing an implementation partner to deliver the professional services for an ISV (Independent Software Vendor). Based on my experience, I would say 2 out of 10 opportunities vocalizes their concerns with using a partner versus the vendor themselves. The most interesting part about this concern is the partner model has successfully existed for years. For example, Accenture, established in 1989, is one of the largest consulting firms delivering professional services for ISV’s such as Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Workday and Microsoft. The majority of Accenture’s clients are large enterprises and trust Accenture to deliver professional services in the tune of $31 billion per year. Every ISV listed in Accenture’s portfolio has their own internal professional services team, but choose Accenture to deliver the services. Why? Accenture has built a reputation for delivering high quality implementations with exceptional results.

FinancialForce.com, a leading cloud ERP provided on the Salesforce1 platform, is another highly successful organization that believes in the power of partnering. Eric Moreau, Strategic Alliances Manager at FinancalForce.com, explains that by utilizing a carefully selected set of partners, FinancialForce’s partner program helps clients quickly gain, and maximize, the full potential of their investment in FinancialForce solutions (i.e. Financial Management, HCM, Professional Services Automation, and Supply Chain Management).

What exactly are the concerns being raised by prospects? Are they valid concerns or are they based on a lack of education or understanding of the professional services industry? I believe the answer is a little bit of both.

HCM Cloud Implementation Partner Concerns

Here are four examples of the apprehension expressed by prospects when asked to utilize an implementation partner:

  1. Accountability – prefer a single company that is responsible for the deliverables and legality of all professional services work being proposed.
  2. Diluted Value – partner’s inability to execute on the deliverables based on lack of experience, training, and overall caliber of consultant(s).
  3. Partner’s Viability – partner’s financial stability, leadership, risk of turnover, depth of bench and proven implementation methodology to deliver results.
  4. Project Ownership – “finger-pointing”. Problems resulting in the partner blaming the overzealous vendor’s sales team, while the sales team blames the underperforming consulting team.

It is my point of view that prospects have legitimate concerns in trusting a partner with their implementation delivery. Believe me, there are plenty of deployment failures over the years by implementation partners to validate these concerns. However, to be fair, you can find similar deployment failures when the vendor’s professional services team delivers the implementations directly. When an implementation partner finds themselves engaged with a prospect that has had a poor prior experience with an implementation partner, candidly, it is my opinion that any partner would find it extremely difficult to overcome this negative bias. However, there are times when the prospects predisposition can be overcome by providing details of the implementation methodology, client references or testimonials, and executive sponsorship. Overall, I think it is a mixed bag when it comes to successfully convincing a potential new client to go forward. Ultimately, I believe it comes down to the comfort level of a prospect with any given implementation team.

Reasons to leverage a HCM cloud implementation partner

So why would a business that is going to be investing in a new HCM solution want to leverage the resources of an implementation partner? Here are my list of reasons.

As validation to the importance of this ISV and partner commitment, Eric Moreau expanded on his comments about the importance of the FinancialForce partner program when he recently told me, “FinancialForce wants to produce the best products we can for our clients. At the same time, we know our implementation partners are experts in their fields. That is why we have chosen to rely heavily on partners, as they are the best at implementing solutions. Our partner program is selective and includes only authorized partners committed to delivering excellent services to our clients and continually exhibit a strong dedication to the FinancialForce organization.”

Today, it is my opinion that the number of HCM cloud implementation partners is increasing and deploying more of the professional services than the ISV’s internal professional services teams. I believe this is no longer just a trend but the norm and it will continue to grow as the intent of these implementation partner programs are to work closely with the vendor’s sales team, provide valuable deployment expertise and allow the software vendor to concentrate on sales and marketing distribution, application development and customer retention. HCM cloud implementation partners will continue to offer greater value and play a valuable role in this journey as more and more businesses adopt HCM cloud technology.


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About the Author:

Mike Maiorino

Mike Maiorino is the Founder and CEO of HRMS Solutions. His 30 years of dedication to the HR/ Payroll technology profession, with a proven track record of results and recognition, has earned him a reputation for being a subject matter expert regarding HCM Solutions. Mike has served in a number of sales and managerial positions for leading providers of HR and Payroll solutions, including ADP, Sage Software, Kronos and Infor (fka SSA Global / Infinium). He is a member of the BAHRA Chapter (Boulder Area Human Resource Association) and completed his certification as a PHR (Professional in Human Resources) in December, 2002. Mike was also recognized in Biltmore Who's Who in 2007 as one of Washington, DC's most distinguished members.

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