The Insider’s Guide To Improving Payments And Cash Flow: Project Kickoff

Alan Cohen and Scott Pezza

Part 9 of the Payments and Cash Flow Series.

You’re ready to begin. The project kickoff is when all the pieces (and resources) come together, typically in person. All individuals identified earlier in the process, from sponsors to functional leads to the project manager, should be included.

When arranging and scheduling your kickoff, pay attention to two key aspects:

  • Full participation. You already have your team identified. When putting time on calendars, be mindful of other commitments and previously booked vacations. This is your opportunity to start things off on the right foot and to avoid having key people begin on day one with gaps in their knowledge and/or expectations.
  • Adequate time. With everyone assembled and your provider’s team on-site, make the most of the opportunity. Work with your provider to design an engaging and wide-ranging day of meetings, including both full-group meetings and functional break-outs as needed for direct engagement with IT, procurement, AP, treasury, and executive management. To keep the day flowing well, create a dedicated time slot for fielding questions. Consolidating Q&A can keep the agenda on track.

Call to action

  • Review the reasons. With a large audience assembled, this is the perfect opportunity to walk through the business objectives that drove you to seek a solution, and the projected results that quantify what you’re expecting from the process. This sets proper expectations from the beginning, and can help educate team members who weren’t involved in the earlier aspects of the project.
  • Finalize the plan. After reviewing why you’re launching this initiative (the business objectives and desired outcomes), walk through the plan for success, including the required technical steps and changes to day-to-day work. This lets everyone know what needs to happen and who is responsible—on your side as well as your provider’s team.
  • Ensure everyone’s connected. Even if the project objectives and plan are common knowledge, the kickoff is the best opportunity to introduce everyone involved in the project. Placing names with faces, clearly understanding who does what, and whom to contact to resolve issues that arise is invaluable. Don’t overlook this non-technical, but important opportunity.

How we can help

To help with your project kickoff, you can request a sample project presentation that calls out what you’ll need to cover. This can be the basis of a session you curate, or it can help you prepare for a provider-led engagement. Just send an email to

Complimentary e-book

You can also get our complimentary Insider’s Guide to Improving Payments and Cash Flow ebook. You’ll learn how to build a business case for improving payment processing and cash flow management, and determine core requirements for a successful program that will deliver measurable value to your organization.

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Alan Cohen

About Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen is VP Payments & Financing Strategy, SAP Ariba. Alan has over 20 years of payments and working capital experience as a practitioner, consultant, and banker. In his current role, he leads the payments and financing strategy for SAP Ariba to help clients achieve improved business outcomes. Previously, at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Alan led the procure-to-pay transformation that encompassed sourcing, procurement, and payables automation, and the company became one of the first to benefit from dynamic discounting. Alan holds a supply chain management degree from Arizona State University. In 2015, he was part of a team that won SAP’s Hasso Plattner Founders Award for an innovative approach to B2B payments. Alan lives in Atlanta with his wife and 2 daughters. He has served on the board of the Weinstein School since 2007 and actively participates in 2nd Helpings, a nonprofit to rescue and deliver surplus food.

Scott Pezza

About Scott Pezza

As part of SAP Ariba's Digital Transformation Organization's Center of Excellence, Scott researches, compiles, and shares best-practice information to help SAP Ariba's customers get the most out of their investments. He has a dual focus on the emerging technologies (AI/ML, IoT, Blockchain, etc.) across the source-to-settle cycle, as well as a specific interest in the financial supply chain (invoice management, payments, discounting, and supply chain finance). His research helps inform strategic planning, performance measurement, and program execution. He has spent the past 17 years in the B2B technology space, in roles ranging from software development and support to research and consulting. Scott earned his BA in English and Philosophy from Clark University, his MBA from Boston University Graduate School of Management, and his JD from Boston University School of Law, where he served on the Executive Board of the Annual Review of Banking and Financial Law.