This article focuses on a solution for a bad budget software implementation.
We all want a successful software implementation, but information system projects typically fall short or even fail. Many software implementations can be challenging, and only a few companies today achieve highly successful software implementations on their first try. In this article, we will explore how to fix a bad budget software implementation.
Let me introduce two scenarios you could most likely find yourself in. You are either a new budgeting manager who has inherited an old budget software that is sitting around and doesn’t help you reach your budgeting goals, or you invested in a new budget software but the implementation fell short of your expectations. What do you do? Here are three steps.
- Check if you have the right software. Does your budget software meet your needs? If it doesn’t, there is a problem. “You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole” can apply to those who try to squeeze their old manual Excel budget model into their commercial software without checking if they adapted their process to a reasonable extent to fit how their budget software works. When you buy commercial software, make sure you adapt your processes to fit how the software was designed to work the best.
- Modify your process and re-implement what your business needs. In your new software evaluation, make sure this time around that your requirements are fulfilled by the budgeting software. If this seems too complex for you to evaluate the fit by just looking at a generic demonstration, I suggest you ask for a proof of concept (POC) so you know that the software suits your company. A POC is like a demo. The vendor or partner uses the software to create examples based on your requests. Its main purpose is to show how the software can solve some of your unique needs.
- Decide on the deployment platform. If you go toward the route of a new budget solution, you will usually decide to invest in either an on-premise software or a cloud-based software, depending on the needs of your company. Let’s run through the advantages and disadvantages of these platforms:
- On-premise – We all know on-premise software has been around for a while now, and although cloud-based solutions are becoming very popular, IT and finance often prefers to keep the budgeting solution in the same environment as their accounting system due to the requirement to export actual data from the general ledger and import it to the budget solution, as well as the other way around. In addition, if a company already is paying for servers and IT staff to have on-premise software, it may be economically beneficial to also have the budget software locally.
- Cloud-based – Cloud computing gives users’ access to the same type of applications through their browser and managed by the software vendor in a remotely hosted environment. Many organizations are moving to the cloud because cloud computing increases efficiency, requires no hardware purchases and helps improve cash flow. Investing in a cloud-based budgeting tool might be a better solution for your corporation if you are looking for these advantages. Almost every application and software seems to go to the cloud. You may think investing in a cloud-based budgeting tool is the way to go, but there are some disadvantages, such as less flexibility to integrate to in-house transaction systems than on-premise budget software and less control over upgrade cycles and customizations. Many cloud based budgeting solutions support many Excel-like features, but most of them can’t use Excel itself to design budget forms and thus power users may miss certain powerful Excel functionalities.
Consider what your organizations needs and ask yourself if your company is capable of experiencing and surviving the software implementation that your company has chosen. I suggest you communicate clear goals to your consultant or provider before you start any implementation capabilities.
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