Deploying Your Business Spend Management Platform Virtually
The business world has faced unprecedented challenges due to the disruptions of 2020. At many companies, teams that were once down the hall from each other are now physically separated and must collaborate online. Stakeholders have had to pivot and adapt their processes to virtual environments to keep their projects on track.
What’s most significant about these changes is that they aren’t likely to revert to their original state soon, even if there is a sudden and positive change in the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re attempting to deploy a new software solution, you may be dealing with unprecedented challenges due to this new work model.
Below, we share three best practices on how to take a deliberate approach to deploy BSM virtually and drive even more value for your organization.
Build a trustworthy project team
Your project team needs to establish a significant level of trust to collaborate virtually. They won’t be able to enter a meeting room together to discuss projects informally, and each team member may need to do a considerable amount of solo work to reach project goals.
Large video conferences have a purpose, but they aren’t an effective means of building strong relationships. Start by clearly defining each team member’s role in the project and establish one-to-one counterparts to work alongside each other within the team.
When working with a solution provider, it can help to partner one of your team members with one of your provider’s team members. For example, Deloitte establishes one-to-one counterparts between their organization and their clients', ensuring questions get answered in the quickest and most effective way.
You should also help your team build a foundation of knowledge about your BSM platform. Each team member should familiarize themselves with the product on their own, but it can also help to give everyone a group demonstration, including a presentation about the benefits of the product and key terms associated with the solution. If possible, use a repository of knowledge that your entire team can access.
Even if your team can’t meet in-person, they can still align their goals and work toward a common mission.
Establish a timeline for success
When working onsite, you can discuss deadlines and allocate resources as needed on a day-to-day basis. This is much more challenging when deploying in a virtual environment. For this reason, your deployment project needs a logical and consistent timeline.
Some aspects of your project may require more time simply because team members can’t work side-by-side. Be sure to allocate enough time to these parts of the deployment process so they can be completed when they need to be.
When working virtually, many teams benefit by relying on a virtual project plan or map, which everyone can access. You can also use task management software or a virtual document to track project deadlines, assign tasks, and keep a system of record for every team member’s activity.
Finally, consider time differences when drafting your project timeline. Stakeholders in different time zones may only be able to meet virtually at specific times each day. There may also be cultural differences between your team members — some of them may be celebrating holidays at times when others are not.
Use a proven approach to deployment
Your approach to virtual deployment should unfold in three phases:
- Designing and building
During the designing and building phase, create a decision-making process that relies on documentation. You’ll need to communicate decisions with the entire team, so they should have easy access to records of when and how each decision was made. Documentation may also be necessary to get final approval for key decisions, as some stakeholders may not be directly involved in the decision-making process due to distance and time constraints.
During the testing phase, provide users with clear lines of support. Your solution provider may have resources available to help your team members in real-time, but they should also have access to a base of knowledge and easy communication with their work partners. Use demonstrations, sample scripts, and screen shares during remote testing sessions to keep your users engaged.
Training can be one of the most challenging phases of virtual deployment. Users won’t be able to pose questions to a stakeholder who is physically present, and they may need to complete training modules on their own time if they are in different time zones.
To address these challenges, host virtual training sessions with multiple users and team members. Rely on one team member to present content, while two to three other team members address users’ questions through a chat function. This will help you avoid disruptions to your training sessions while also addressing the needs of individuals.
Deploy virtually with Coupa
Coupa’s cloud-based software provides an all-in-one solution for BSM, but we also pool data from our community to help customers identify risks, save money, and become more efficient in their processes. We’re dedicated to helping companies deploy comprehensive BSM solutions that give them total control over their direct and indirect spend, no matter what challenges lie ahead.
Visit our website to learn more.