The Insider’s Guide To Improving Payments And Cash Flow: Implementation And Change Management

Alan Cohen and Scott Pezza

Part 10 of the Payments and Cash Flow Series.

Technical implementation is where the rubber meets the road for your project. This is also where any customizations or non-standard fields in your back-end system will need to be neatly mapped or otherwise handled when connecting your system to your provider’s. To keep this on track, you’ll want to ensure:

Clear communications between IT and your provider. The key here is full transparency, sharing information on who specializes in which area, who is available as a backup, and where to escalate if an issue goes beyond the scope of their role. This applies to both sides of the relationship for internal systems and the provider’s platform and capabilities.

Clear communications with your suppliers. Explain why you are undertaking this initiative, what it means for suppliers, and how their business will improve in the end. Layer in the full benefits of early payments on top of full visibility into invoice approval, payment timing, and details on payment execution. There’s a lot of value delivered to them.

Availability of functional leads to lend their expertise. Since the systems manage processes that govern the day-to-day life of your staff, the right answer about how a field is used or what data should be visible can be more functional than technical in nature. Ensure that the shared roster of contacts, roles, and responsibilities includes these processes in addition to the technical resources.

Change management

Getting your staff up to speed on how their processes and systems will change is just as important as nailing the technical aspects of integration. To keep them comfortable while getting them educated, remember to:

Keep training live. The ability to ask clarifying questions can make or break a training experience. Whenever practical and feasible, conduct training and role-play scenarios live – either in-person or via a web conference. This helps to introduce new tools and processes to your staff while giving them the opportunity to drill down and ask follow-ups.

Support self-study (and review) with supporting materials. Record all sessions; make available supporting materials (slides, screenshots, web meetings, etc.); and compile and revise a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document based on common questions and those that come up during live training.

Call to action

Make your voice heard. Communicate early and often with both internal stakeholders, suppliers, and your external provider. This is where your project lead can truly shine, keeping teams coordinated and ensuring that any issues that do arise are escalated, tracked, and resolved.

How we can help

To help you spread the word, you can review some sample project communications. These can help you craft letters explaining the project not only to suppliers but to internal employees as well. To request this, send us an email at SAP_improve-cashflow@sap.com.

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.