When choosing an implementation partner for your new HCM (Human Capital Management) software, how can you filter the signal from the noise?

With so many Systems Integrators (SIs) in the market, it can be difficult to effectively sort through and vet your options. Review sites like Raven Intel are excellent resources for feedback from other buyers like yourself on their experience with a given SI, as CEO Bonnie Tinder pointed out in a recent blog post. However, these reviews don’t tell the whole story, and there is another hugely important area software buyers often neglect when choosing an SI that will directly impact your budget’s bottom line: Project Management Methodology.

Too often, project management takes a backseat in the everyday operations of SIs, and their customers are forced to deal with implementation delays, budget overruns and lack of implementation success as a result. Sure, they might have lists of tasks, maybe even an antiquated Gantt chart, but their mindset tends to focus on time tracking and billing, rather than the critical path through the entire project. These organizations often have no consistency across implementations or governance over their delivery ecosystem, leading to systemic inefficiencies and constant roadblocks. There’s no clarity in the roadmap to your go-live date, and when the plan goes sideways due to undetected risks in the project’s structure, you’ll be blindsided with no way to figure out what went wrong or how to get your implementation back on track.

You deserve better.

You’ve invested immense time and money into your new HCM software, and you deserve crystal-clear visibility into your implementation’s progress and road map. You have the right to expect a clear project schedule that is consistent with an SI’s previous implementations, has been thoroughly analyzed for risks, and is constantly monitored for signs of trouble. The only way your implementation partner can achieve this methodology improvement is through a mindset shift that we call the ‘PM-First Mindset’.

The PM-First Mindset is a fundamental shift in how most SIs approach their business today. Most SIs use a typical resource-first approach, in which they will simply guesstimate how many hours of a given role type will be needed for the entire implementation and make budget and go-live estimates based on those guesses. This means that implementation projects can start with wildly inaccurate assumptions about the time and money needed to set your organization up for success with your new HCM software.

The PM-First Mindset flips this model.

PM-First SIs put the project plan at the core of all organizational decision-making and create detailed, precise project schedules for every implementation to make resource and budget decisions. From the very beginning, the SI team uses this plan to build an accurate understanding of how long they believe the project will take and how much it will cost, and they can communicate to you exactly how they reached those numbers. They use automated risk detection technologies to find potential delays and capacity bottlenecks before they arise, and proactively mitigate these problems so your implementation keeps running smoothly. They collaborate with your team, communicating as many details as you need about the project, so you understand exactly what you’re paying for.

Running a Systems Integration company on the PM-First Mindset is not an easy feat. SIs typically use Professional Services Automation (PSA) software platforms to run their businesses; unfortunately, most PSAs don’t have project management capabilities that are powerful enough to run an organization this way. Many SIs will use stand-alone PM software outside of their PSAs to run their implementations, but this forces PMs to manage two systems of record at once and leaves essential resource data completely separate from project data. However, we’ve found at Moovila that with a project management-focused PSA, SIs can more effectively shift their organizational mindset and outperform their competitors.

We’ve found that research into the Professional Services industry supports the benefits of a PM-First Mindset. The 2021 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark from Service Performance Insight is the most comprehensive survey of SIs and other professional services organizations (PSOs) around the world, and their PSO Maturity Model identifies optimized project management practices as a key characteristic of top-performing professional services organizations. Additionally, they found that the industry average for on-time project delivery is only 79.7%, while top-performing PSOs with robust project management practices deliver on-time for more than 91% of their projects.

Our industry research and product experience has led us to believe that SIs who adopt a PM-First Mindset will vastly outperform those who cast project management to the wayside. That’s why we’ve partnered with Raven Intel to include Project Management Methodology information on their site, to give you another tool to more holistically vet your SIs.

If you’re looking for an implementation partner, ask them about their project management methodology. If they’ve adopted a PM-First Mindset and are using real-time risk detection automation technology, that should make you feel good about the chances they’ll deliver on-time and on-budget.


Meet the Authors:
Mike Psenka is the Founder & CEO of Moovila, a transformational work management & automation platform. Psenka previously built and sold a successful business intelligence and analytics platform to Equifax in 2011. He left Equifax in 2015 to found Moovila and tackle a new problem: digitally transforming work management. He holds a bachelors in Engineering from Princeton University and lives in Charleston, South Carolina with his wife and four kids who he states are significant upgrades from the beta version.

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