Undoubtedly, the last few months have left us all a bit blindsided. But that’s especially true for companies who were in the middle of an automation software implementation or just starting one. The same goes for companies who may have been considering switching from manual business processes to an automated one in the near future.
Solution delivery projects such as these can be challenging even in ideal circumstances, but the current global health crisis has added a new wrinkle of complexity into the mix. Even more unsettling is that effective resolutions are expected to be months or even years away, with intermittent “lockdowns” potentially becoming the new normal. It’s understandable that many business leaders are fearful of pursuing a project or pessimistic that their current initiative will flourish.
In this blog, we explore some of the common questions about implementation in today’s environment and how companies like Esker are helping to weather the storm by continuing to deliver fast, accurate and successful solution deliveries.
Business as Usual?
Thanks to modern video and teleconferencing technology, it’s relatively easy to virtually replicate being face-to-face with clients, especially with the ability to initiate a web session or screenshare at the drop of a hat. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for team members to already be working remote — thus, business can be conducted just the same as if we were in the office or onsite with them.
The ability of projects to move forward with little to no postponements is largely predicated on the foundational capabilities of the solution provider. Below is a list of seven attributes that all best-in-class solution providers should possess to ease customer anxiety:
- Infrastructure that supports work anywhere in the world
- Cloud-based platform available 24/7 year-round
- Real-time project status availability to both the company and customer
- 100% transparency for all project work (e.g., in Esker’s case, all work is captured, assigned, estimated, and visible in our Kanban tool)
- Customer information securely stored on a corporate network
- Secure VPN access for company employees to access network from anywhere
- Employees experienced with remote collaboration tools
“Look at your current culture of remote collaboration. Often, companies are already used to working on multi-region global projects that required a lot of remote working with users and key stakeholders. So, companies have some of this experience even if it’s not obvious. Ask yourself: Is there a way to look at this project and do it in smaller chunks (e.g., regional deployments and phased out functionality)?”
Chris Crone │Senior Vice President, ASUG
Addressing Common Concerns
One of the most common and logical concerns customers may have is how to get an internal team to work collaboratively and learn a whole new software while working remote. After all, when rolling out a new software, it’s only natural to be hesitant if face-to-face communication isn’t possible. In instances such as these, it’s beneficial to have a solution provider that’s well-versed in Change Management strategies and can offer up best practices to minimize disruption.
In Esker’s experience, we’ve employed some or all of the following suggestions for current customers at the early stages of their Professional Services (PS) projects who are testing remotely to ensure optimal collaboration and communication:
- Set up daily meetings or multiple meetings a week internally with your team to test individually and ask questions, encouraging teamwork and collaboration as they learn a new solution.
- Use vendor-supplied project management software (e.g., Trello) to keep track of all questions or issues, ensuring visibility between both teams to see what issues their users are running into.
- Set specific goals for testing (e.g., process 10 documents per day in Esker). If an issue is encountered, set it aside, note the issue in Trello, and move on.
- Esker can help to schedule a report showing how many documents are being processed each day so the managers/sponsors are aware of the team’s progress.
- Esker can schedule user testing calls to review user questions and issues to ensure there are no roadblocks deterring users from testing.
It’s safe to say that we’re long way off from “the way things were,” and the current situation’s impact on implementation projects is still too early to calculate. However, having a nimble, globally supportive solution vendor during this time is invaluable for executing a SaaS project as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible.