Digital transformation is a buzzword that’s been used for the last decade. Now, a growing number of businesses are looking to advance their digital initiatives beyond those initial efforts.
As organizations identify a need to implement new software or revamp business processes to better meet goals, a new set of challenges arise outside of just identifying the original transformation objective. Business leaders are tasked with identifying project goals, ROI, and the right partner to help them complete these initiatives.
I recently talked with Cameron Larkin, Client Portfolio Management Leader at OneSource Virtual (OSV), about how third-party consulting partners can bring value to an organization, as well as when and where you should augment your team. (See the video interview below.)
OneSource Virtual is an exclusive Workday partner offering end-to-end services for customers. Larkin has been with OneSource Virtual for seven years and is responsible for over 100 active deployment projects across North America.
Digital Transformation or Software Implementation: What’s the Difference?
While digital transformations and software implementations are commonly used interchangeably, the differences are vast. Software implementations typically replace back-office software systems with new software that fits an organization’s defined needs.
A digital transformation brings significant changes through the implementation of new technology that is customized to meet an organization’s unique needs and is often aligned to a key goal. Over time, digital transformations can lead to wholesale digital business and digital business acceleration.
Larkin noted that a software deployment often lacks the “people, process, and technology” framework that OneSource Virtual strives to utilize in all digital transformations.
“A systems implementation that just replaces the technology typically achieves minimal transformation. Similarly, you don’t get much People or Process improvement or uplift if the new system mimics how things were done in the old system.” – Cameron Larkin, Client Portfolio Management Leader at OneSource Virtual
While it might sound daunting at first, a digital business initiative doesn’t have to be, if you pick the right partner.
Why Use a Third-Party Consultant?
Organizations that are about to embark on a digital transformation are tasked with assembling the right teams to get the job done. Usually, there will be both internal and external resources, and those internal team members often still have other responsibilities outside of just the digital transformation.
“That’s when it makes sense to pull in third-party contractors to support the legacy system activities. This way, your team can achieve optimal knowledge transfer while participating in key Workday project design decisions, legacy data conversion validation, business process testing, and training,” said Larkin.
Larkin also recognizes that becoming a more strategic HR organization begins with prioritizing money and time. By utilizing a third-party consultant, organizations can prioritize and take advantage of the knowledge and time-savings brought by using a partner.
Similar to OneSource Virtual, many third-party consultancies specialize in just one software, bringing deep levels of product expertise to the table. Other organizations come prepared with the vast software knowledge of several vendors. If you’re unsure of which type of third-party consultancy is right for you, Raven Intelligence can help.
Should You Use a Contractor for the Project Manager Role?
When assembling the resources for your team, there is typically a project manager or project lead that helps keep both teams aligned and on track. One of the biggest questions that come up in team assembly discussion is: Should you use an internal team member or contractor for the project manager role?
Our conversation with Larkin made it clear that there are pros and cons to both. On the one hand, contractors bring a lot of knowledge to the table. They’re specialists in the software that’s being implemented, so they can help ensure the implementation design meets the customer’s needs. As mentioned earlier, augmenting your internal team with external resources allows team members to focus on their “day job” while letting a contractor lead the project.
On the other hand, the project manager role may not need to be full-time. Using an internal resource and allocating 50% of their time towards the digital initiative could bring cost savings to the organization, rather than paying for a contractor to do the work full-time. Additionally, team members may be better suited for testing and training purposes, as they know the intricacies of the organization. Internal project leads can also promote minimal knowledge transfer, as the internal resource wouldn’t be leaving the company at the end of the organization.
“Key knowledge transfer takes place during the project [especially during testing],” says Larkin. “It’s key that knowledge stays within the company after go-live, not disappear when a contractor leaves.”