Selecting the Right Partner for your Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Solution Implementation

A critical task in selecting the right Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solution is ensuring you have the right consulting partner to help you implement it. Here are six reasons why choosing the right consulting partner is arguably just as important as selecting the CPM solution.

Reason #1: Industry Expertise

Selecting a consulting partner with resources that understand your industry and can apply that knowledge to the implementation is critical to its success. The implementation of a new CPM solution inherently needs to support your industry-specific processes and business requirements. A professional services firm focused on key metrics such as resource utilization and project realization does not have the same needs as a process manufacturer needing to manage recipes and batches, and vice versa. Most CPM solutions can be configured or customized to handle the unique requirements of an industry, however, not every consulting vendor selling the software has the skills to properly configure the system and help your organization through a successful implementation.

Reason #2: Don’t Go It Alone

Drawing on a partner’s experience to implement the solution using best practices will maximize the adoption and utilization of the solution. We have yet to meet a business owner who completed a CPM implementation solely with internal resources – and we’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, 500-person companies, and 5-person companies. Consultants draw from a depth of experience and resources to make sure things are set up correctly using proven best practices. It’s a situation of “you don’t know what you don’t know”.

Reason #3: Seeing Is Believing

Have the partner “prove” their qualifications with a software demonstration focused on how they would implement the solution to address your unique and industry-specific requirements. This will accomplish several things. First, you get a peek at the consulting vendor’s technical capabilities and their ability to “talk the talk” within your industry. Second, it’s an opportunity for you to vet any assumptions that you’ve made about the system and ensure that all the research you’ve done to this point is accurate. Third, it allows you to ensure the solution delivers meaningful value to your business (don’t fall in love with the technology, fall in love with the outcomes the technology produces).  

Reason #4: Meet the Delivery Team

Ensure what the sales team promises is what the implementation team can deliver, and that the delivery team is compatible with your team. Sales teams don’t implement, the partner’s delivery team does. If you can’t meet a member of the delivery team during the sales process, that should cause you to pause. It is important to meet with them and ensure your needs are understood by the people who will be responsible for delivering the solution. It is also the ideal time to gauge if your team and the delivery team will mesh, or if instead, you sense a misalignment between your culture and the consulting vendor’s culture. A major component of CPM implementation is change management. When speaking with the delivery team ask for advice on how they would approach change management and make sure that your ethos on organizational change aligns with theirs.

Reason #5: Project Staffing

Avoid unnecessary project risk by ensuring your partner has the appropriate amount of experience with the solution. Will the consulting vendor outsource some of the work to a 3rd party? How many years of experience implementing the solution and in your specific industry does the implementation team have? These may be the most critical questions to ask. Even with the best project management controls, polished sales pitches, and personable delivery team, if your partner lacks experience with the solution that you are paying them to implement you are introducing an unprecedented level of risk to the project. You should also ask any vendor you are considering about turnover on their implementation teams because staffing changes mid-project can negatively impact the project budget.

Reason #6: Ensuring Success After Go-live

Be sure to understand how the implementation vendor delivers post-go-live support, both in the short-term and long-term. Typically, in the first several months after a project goes live your team will be building up their confidence and overcoming the learning curve as they adopt the solution.  You must have a partner who doesn’t take a “cut the cord” approach so you can go back to the vendor for support as needed. You should also consider your long-term needs for the solution. Commonly, CPM solutions are implemented for a specific business function or department need, but over time become a critical reporting, planning, and visualization tool for multiple areas of the business.  Having a partner who can also be your “trusted advisor” will ensure your investment will have long-term benefits to your business.

About Schneider Downs Technology and Data Services

Schneider Downs Technology Advisors are committed to providing value-added technology services and solutions to our clients. We strive to create an ongoing mutually beneficial relationship with our clients by focusing on client satisfaction, delivery of quality service and the continuous education and training of our staff. In today's demanding world market, one of the most challenging tasks facing a company is utilizing and processing information effectively and efficiently.

For more information contact the team at [email protected] or visit our dedicated Technology and Data Services page.

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The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

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