How do you prepare a Finance System ITT
A finance system might include modules for general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, P2P and interface into other systems.
Let’s assume that you have an existing system but this has become dated and not fit for purpose. The first thing you need to do is identify the objectives. What does the current system lack and what functionality must the new system have. Prepare a procurement strategy that can be shared with all parties involved.
The first step is for the business to prepare a document that identifies the requirements. Start with an outline document on the initial selection process and subsequent implementation.
Attend site visits with reference sites who already use the software. Choose a company with similar size or set up.
- System implementation taking too long or exceed the desired budget
- Important functionality was missed off the original specification
- The system is clunky and doesn’t work well
- It’s difficult to use
- The system is trying to do too much and misses targets
- There is no interoperability with other systems
- Maintenance cost is expensive
A risk register should be set up at the start of the project. Rate the risk a RAG rating. A premium risk register template is available for purchase. This is a general risk register, if required it can be adapted further to suit and Finance System ITT risk register.
Buy SaaS, you do not need a bespoke system! No system is going to do exactly what you want, draw up a list of essential and optional requirements. When weighting these requirements, bear in mind what you want as an ideal and what can cover off the majority of your needs.
Other things to specifically include are security requirements, training, maintenance, performance measurement and acceptance testing criteria as well as real-life scenarios to be used as a test for the suppliers.
Other consideration to be included in the specification might be hardware constraint, time constraint, etc.
Implement a system that’s easy to manage. If you don’t have the skills in-house consider a managed service provision. Prepare well in advance because projects that are integral to the smooth running of back-office systems always take longer than anticipated. It’s most likely that you will need time to run a test and prepare parallel runs. When thinking about timescales consider the go-live date. A good time to switch over is at the start of the financial year because you can start with a clean slate without having to transfer huge amounts of data from the legacy system.
Finance System ITT-Market Engagement
Start with an RFI and issue to 6-10 suppliers, use a framework or advertise openly to request EOI. The questionnaire issued should seek to help you identify a range of suppliers with software that broadly meets your needs. Start with some pre-market engagement demo sessions. If the skills don’t exist in-house consider hiring a specialist for a project period to assist with technical aspects.
- When visiting supplier sites, make sure you visit their help desk to check how they handle customer service.
After the selection criteria, you can move on to the ITT stage.
Finance System ITT
If subject to OJEU you can use the open procedure or the restricted procedure. A negotiated procedure is an option if the requirement is not available off the shelf and is complex.
It’s worth noting that your contract should not be a generic version of T’s&C’s as software is more specific. Therefore seek legal advice to ensure that an appropriate version of the draft contract is issued to avoid a supplier trying to enforce the use of their own terms because it’s more suitable for the product and services.
- Request for software consultants employed by the bidding company to form part of the implementation team-this should not be outsourced to a third party-they are accountable
- The supplier should attend demo days with a range of stakeholders and be prepared to provide examples of how to use the system based on scenarios
- Check what version of the software is being sold, how long this is supported for and when the next release is available and the frequency of updates
- Enquire about upgrade cost and try to build in discounts for future upgrades as part of the competition
- Be clear what the licence is inclusive off
- Ensure that you have enough training days and a suitable maintenance package
- Check if the system has inbuilt reporting tools or whether if it uses third-party collaboration- state your desired preference
- Make payments linked to milestones and keep a large portion of the cost to be payable only after successful sign off after the implementation at Go Live
- Place the software into Escrow for protection
- Ideally, you should choose a licence that does not restrict the number of users. If this is not possible push for a concurrent option.
- If its cheaper push for as many modules as you can that will realistically be used even if rollout might be at a later stage.
Finance System ITT Recap evaluation:
- Consultants skills
- Software functionality
- Software performance
- Ease of use
- Integration with other systems
- Third party tools
- Implications for hardware if not choosing SaaS
- Implementation plan
- Total cost
Play around with the evaluation criteria. You don’t want a system that gets high marks because it satisfactorily meets requirements as standard but doesn’t really stand out.
What is the best way to roll out the Finance system?
Make sure that you have the appropriate hardware and sufficient capacity to run the new system. (hopefully, the cost would have been considered at the business case stage.
The supplier will help you configure the system but you must be clear about business processes and requirements. Work with the implementation team to monitor delivery and testing. The key to success is documenting everything, keep track of changes in configuration and set the test criteria in advance. Keep testing, use volume testing software to test scripts. The purpose of testing is to use the system with the intention of finding defects. Start by creating a testing strategy and a list of the processes that need to be tested. All test should be recorded and if there are any bugs record them and raise it with the supplier.
You could start trialling with one department first and use them as a guinea pig to identify what works and what doesn’t. Once the snagging issues are fixed you roll out to others. A successful pilot has not been completed at scale so there could still be issues later on.
This might be a more suitable option if you can run 2 systems at once. A gradual rollout can be targeted at different user groups. The problem is managing 2 systems at the same time, this might be resource intensive.
This is a full swap, switching one system off and another on. If the rollout is unsuccessful this would have the greatest impact on users. The unsuccessful rollout will be high profile.
Any type of rollout should be communicated to staff so people are informed. You can use a communication plan to address different stakeholders. A premium template is available for purchase.