So, you have selected your Audit Management solution and now it is time to implement. What’s next?
Given that a recent Standish Group Report found that as many as 53% of projects will suffer from poor planning, budgeting, and resource management, how can you make sure you implement a system that succeeds, one that embeds your business processes, provides meaningful data, improves productivity, and—most importantly—meets your business objectives?
As a practitioner in Audit Management Solutions and Implementations, here are five key success factors I would recommend you consider:
1. Define success
It may sound obvious, but many projects begin without a clear definition of success. Take the time to determine what is driving your implementation and what you expect to achieve in business terms. Define how you will measure your results. Ask yourself this question: If everything goes well, what will things look like a year from now…and how will you know whether you are successful?
2. Prioritize your needs and wants
Regardless of the Audit Management system you have selected, there are undoubtedly numerous configuration options. Too often, organizations get caught up in the features and functions rather that starting with a business perspective. Take the time to ask yourself these questions. What is critical to you and your organization? What speaks to your strategies and operational processes? These will be the areas to focus on. And remember to think about what will make everyone’s lives simpler; simplicity means better user adoption, an important factor in long-term success.
3. Identify and document your desired business processes
Software systems enable business processes, and the best Audit Management systems provide great flexibility in implementation. Most can handle reasonably complex business processes. The success of your project lies in making sure that the processes you want are properly configured in the system and the best way to do that is to design and document those processes prior to the system implementation. And then, design, configure and document your “future state”. Take advantage of the opportunity to transform your organization by reviewing and improving processes that add the most value.
4. Ensure you have the right stakeholders with the right skills—and the right authority
Successful projects always focus on engaging with the right people at the right time. The Standish Group Report listed “User Involvement” and “Executive Management Support” as the highest-rated factors for success across any implementation project! Make sure you have committed executive sponsorship, strong project management, team members with the necessary technical and business skills, a broad approach to gathering feedback and input from those who will be using the system regularly, and a defined process for making decisions.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
While often a cliché, the importance of communication cannot be overstated: the more you effectively communicate how and what the project team is doing, the project objectives, and the value to the organization, the more likely you are to succeed—particularly in the critical area of user acceptance. The best project teams communicate early and often, informing stakeholders frequently, consistently, and clearly.
While the above five factors are critical to success, there is one other compelling point to make: overall ownership and accountability—from everyone involved—is fundamental for project success. Your new Audit Management system is an investment—not only in time and resources, but in the future of Internal Audit within your organization. Gaining commitment and dedication from your stakeholders and project team is a sure path to meeting your overall objectives and the long-term success of your Audit Management solution.