How do you ensure your Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Business Planning & Consolidation (BPC) or Business Intelligence (BI) project will start out positioned for success? You've gone through the RFP process, completed the vendor evaluation, and have decided on the technology. But before diving into requirements and design, you also need to spend time in the project initiation phase--ensuring the project's critical success factors (CSFs) are defined and socialized, and that a plan for implementation is developed. Be sure there is a common understanding of the importance of the CSFs and how they differ from project objectives and success criteria.
Here's where to start:
- Executive Support and Project Sponsorship: The executive sponsor is the key link between executive management and the project team, with the responsibility of ensuring the strategic goals of the project are widely communicated, resources and funding are committed, and decisions are made in a timely fashion. Based on benchmarking studies, active and visible executive sponsorship ranks as number one on the list of contributors of project success year over year. Performing a stakeholder analysis at the start of the project ensures that stakeholders are identified, understand their roles and are driving the key messages and priorities throughout the life of the project.
- Collaboration - Involvement Plan: Successful delivery and adoption of any project requires a partnership between the business, information technology (IT), value chain partners and end users to ensure the solution ultimately delivered meets the stated business objectives and return on investment (ROI). Establish a detailed project involvement plan coupled with a project responsibility matrix specifying the project responsibilities by project phase. Slick, leading-edge technology alone will not guarantee project success--so don't underestimate the power of the people when it comes to adoption of the solution.
- Vision, Scope, Goals Alignment: The project charter is the primary vehicle to capture and communicate the project objectives, success criteria, scope, resourcing, funding and overall project management methodology. Creating alignment with the project objectives and scope will avoid costly delays once the project has moved into requirements and design.
- Effective Project Management and Methodology: Projects of all sizes need a detailed, well thought-out project plan, an established scope and change control plan, cost management, project controls and a monitoring cadence tailored for the specific project. Here, it's important to not underestimate the impact of change, of which even the smallest increments can chip away at the project timeline, scope and budget. Project methodology is not one size fits all, but rather should be customized for each a specific project to minimize risk.
- Knowledge Transfer Plan: At the start of the project, you need to address how the knowledge needed to manage the solution post go-live will be garnered and disseminated during the project. The knowledge transfer plan should go beyond the scope of the traditional training plan--because when the project launches and the project team disbands, the knowledge of the project team needs to be maintained.
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A primary responsibility for today’s CFOs is to define a company’s Enterprise Performance Management strategy. In order to do this, they will need to understand what is possible with EPM, and how to deliver bottom line value they covet with targeted investments that deliver process improvements in this area. Topics discussed will be how to leverage cloud/SaaS, in-memory databases, predictive analytics, business intelligence, in a comprehensive way to produce value for organizations in any industry and size.