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Make Your SaaS System Work for You: Best Implementation Practices

By March 6, 2018 No Comments

Is your university implementing a research system the right way? While many institutions implement SaaS ERP research administration or compliance systems, not all do so in a way that allows them to fully achieve their business goals. There are key differences between an institution that simply uses a SaaS ERP system and one that takes full advantage of their system. Some universities excel at leveraging their system to improve processes and solve problems, while others don’t ever reach that level.  Why? What makes the difference? The following thee steps will help your institution take advantage of its SaaS ERP system.

Clarity of Vision

Schools are successful when the highest levels in both research leadership and technology leadership articulate a clear set of goals for system implementation and communicate these priorities to campus in a straightforward way. Leaders should consider and be able to answer questions like the following: Why are we implementing this system? What business problems are we hoping to solve? Why is it important that we prioritize this project and work through any challenges that arise during implementation?

An explicit vision drives adoption and sets the tone for success.

Appropriate Resourcing

Schools struggle when employees are expected to carry out system implementation tasks in addition to their regular work. Even with strong external consulting services, planning and executing a system implementation takes time and effort from internal staff members. Individuals with knowledge of the institution’s culture, business needs, and tolerance for change need to make informed decisions about how to best use the system’s features. Folks with the right technical skills and understanding of the campus technical landscape need to design and develop desired integrations with other local systems. Particularly in the deadline-driven environment of central research administration and research compliance offices, these important tasks require allocated, protected time. Schools are successful when they dedicate resources to the following tasks:

  • Project management to coordinate internal tasks and decision-making.
  • Subject matter experts to make and vet system usage decisions.
  • Technical staff to design and develop integrations.
Ownership of System Knowledge.

In order for an institution to get the most out of a SaaS ERP system, the institution needs to consider the system fully “theirs,” and identify staff members who will be responsible for developing a thorough understanding of how the system works. During the implementation process, this means:

  • Identifying individuals who will become local system experts. Local system experts will be the folks others on campus turn to when they need assistance.
  • Reviewing knowledge base articles and other vendor or consultant-provided training materials.
  • Participating fully in vendor-provided training sessions, taking notes, and asking questions.
  • Setting aside time to discover the system through open-ended exploration sessions.

After go-live, these individuals will be responsible for the following:

  • Establishing a mechanism for campus users to access help and support from local system experts.
  • Updating system configurations and workflow settings to meet evolving business requirements.
  • Monitoring release notes and other vendor communications to stay aware of new features available for use.
  • Engaging with the broader community of users through attendance at user group meetings and professional conferences.

To help streamline your implementation process, download our Implementation Readiness Checklist. Use it to make sure you’re on track for a successful implementation.

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At Kuali, as proud as we are of our software, we understand that a great implementation and support experience can make the difference between simply using an ERP system and leveraging it to transform the way you work. We are committed to you – to make sure that you can make the most out of your new system to manage today’s research portfolio and plan for tomorrow’s.

Author Kaci Foster

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