I have written a little bit about this. Recently I produced an eBook on this subject, calling it the 7 1/2 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Automating. It’s not on my site yet, but will be soon.
Experience is the best teacher. Over the course of six years I have been informally and formally asking companies that are automated in Accounts Payable what they would have done differently if they had to do it all over again. The number of companies that I am up to is over 400. Now, the point behind this article is to give all of my readers a study in generalizing information. I know that have to read bad, but when you talk to over 400 companies and ask them the same question, they won’t have the same answer.
As It Progressed
As my questioning became more formal and moved from a casual question in passing to a concerted effort for educational purposes, I did come up with five broad categories and two underlying themes.
The five were:
- Time Allocation
- Real Savings
- System of Record
- Cloud or No Cloud
- Reference Checking
If you look at the categories they have a lot in common, which they are all tangible outcomes. Meaning that they would have done a better job checking references and getting to know the service provider better, and they were all something that the companies could verbalize. By contrast the themes were not. The two themes were:
- The Role of an Advocate
- Software is 50%
Not one person out of the 400 + said, “I wish I would have had a better or stronger advocate” or “I really messed up by concentrating on software evaluations only.” That’s where my generalizing came it. I noticed that those companies that had an easier time with AP Automation had an advocate, which is a person or a team driving and focusing on the change management process. Also, every company that I talked with said that they underestimated the impact of the change because they spend too much time evaluating the software. To be clear, no one said that if they had to do it all over again they wouldn’t look at demos and ask software questions, but they did say that they didn’t balance their evaluation with the software with impact.
I am still asking the questions and getting good responses, over time I hope to see this information continue to give me insights on doing Accounts Payable Automation in a better way, and when I do – you will be the first to know.
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