February 01, 2016
How to Accelerate SaaS to Achieve Success
By: Beth Boettcher

Having been a part of SaaS disruption from the onset, clients come to us often to get our opinion on what they need to think about to make their journey to the cloud a success. Notably, within the HRIS cloud space the journey is materially different than the decades of on premise implementations to which companies are accustomed.

When I explain the differences using words like "governance" "course correction" and "collaboration," many people flash a skeptical look, as if a cartoon bubble is overhead with the question "How are those things any different than what made us successful with on premise solutions?" Honestly, there are very distinct differences that need to be considered and applied. The two key differences follow:

Pace: Because companies typically start incurring costs with their HRIS SaaS implementation from the day they sign a contract, they need to deploy at a rapid pace to minimize their total cost of ownership (TCO) and realize the return on investment (ROI). This is critical to achieving the business case. In the world of HCM SaaS, pace is more equivalent to what you would see in a 10K or a half marathon versus the pace required to complete the marathon or super marathon duration of on premise solutions. The things that have the greatest impact to slowing SaaS project pace include:

  • Slow decision making or “flip flopping” on decisions (resulting in re-work).

  • Lack of governance to allow for rapid issue resolution, risk mitigation, and key decision making.

  • A quest for perfection upon go live versus living with “good enough” (with a plan for optimization post go live).

  • Lack of rigor and discipline when it comes to scope management. SaaS applications and their ease of configuration can often result in “death by a thousand cuts” because a lot of small changes that sneak into scope result in something far bigger than initially anticipated.

  • Limited collaboration throughout iterative design and build, increasing the effort and duration required to complete activities.

Stakeholder Engagement: As HCM SaaS solutions can impact the entire enterprise and are developed iteratively, engaging stakeholders from the onset of the journey is critical to developing a stellar solution that is sponsored across all areas of the organization. This includes:

  • Engaging empowered resources across both HR (and other impacted business groups) and IT that have a clear understanding of the future state vision and how the technology will support the desired outcomes.

  • Confirming that resources can provide the appropriate dedication to the project throughout its duration and continue as owners when the solution is live.

  • Providing extreme transparency to stakeholders who have an interest in the solution but may not be involved in the day-to-day delivery activities.

Our 10+ years of delivering SaaS solutions across hundreds of companies allows us to help guide our clients to effectively adapt to the “SaaS way.” Additionally, we have made significant investments in proprietary tools to help our project teams’ address pace and stakeholder engagement. Notably, in our Workday practice, we developed the Accenture Client Enablement (ACE) Tool for Workday to help plan and manage Workday implementations, facilitate decision making, enable collaboration, and articulate accountabilities across the project team—all in real-time via the cloud. Coupled with world class consulting skills, ACE helps our clients to accelerate implementations to achieve success.

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