While sophisticated project management software packages offer SaaS providers a ton of benefits, one key advantage that’s often overlooked is the implementation audit.
Reviewing project audit trails—either during the actual on-boarding or postmortem— can help you grow your business by making your implementation processes much more efficient, thereby allowing key personnel to complete more projects in less time.
That means your customers are up and running faster—which makes them very happy—and your monthly revenue streams grow faster, which makes your CFO (and your investors) incredibly happy as well.
In this post we’ll examine some real-life examples of how easy-to-execute implementation audits can help you attract more customers and greatly enhance your revenue growth.
Approvals can be (and often are) your biggest challenge.
Even though project management software programs can be set to automatically notify each participant when their approval or consent is needed, approval-related delays still happen. A lot.
Addressing the issue is critical because SaaS implementations typically involve a substantial list of approvals. Common pain points include authorization(s) to access or integrate SaaS software with client-side systems or databases; confirmation that each integration process is working sufficiently; approval to bypass a standard process, engage members of the customer’s staff, or accept a business workflow or UX; and/or permission to spend money on additional project resources.
An audit lets you review a specific phase of a project, make adjustments, and get it back on track. You can also assess past implementations, red flag common approval-related bottlenecks, and present them to your client at the project kick-off. That won’t eliminate approval delays entirely but making everyone aware of their cost— both in time and dollars—will help diminish their occurrence, length, and overall impact.
Develop accurate, realistic implementation schedules.
Nothing drives a wedge between you and your client faster than a poorly planned implementation. Using real-time data to examine the history of past project timeframes and schedules helps you create future timetables based on facts. That, in turn, helps you avoid unrealistic deadlines in the first place and instills confidence in your client.
Many steps or tasks can appear simple at the kickoff. Being able to access the client’s engineering team, for example, may seem like a no-brainer.But these folks are busy, and it may take time for them to get back to you. Or perhaps an unforeseen workaround pops up at a key integration point and the coding process takes longer than expected.
A project management tool can help you identify potential issues and address them with the client at the get-go. If they do occur, knowing how you resolved them previously will help you, your vendors and—most importantly—the client stay on schedule.
Identify and schedule your customizations at the outset.
For many SaaS companies, implementations are relatively similar. And that includes customizations. They’re a basic fact of SaaS implementation life.
Perhaps the customer’s CTO won’t accept your product unless it does X,Y, or Z—which requires you to alter what had been relatively standard integrations. Security tools and related policies often vary by client. Financial industry clients have unusually complex FinTech compliance issues.And many customers employ legacy or exclusive, custom-built data systems that few have seen or know how to code. The list goes on and on.
A project management tool can help show the client (and perhaps select vendors) how specific customizations were handled in the past and the steps they’ll need to take to help you make that happen again. That, in turn, speeds the process and impresses the heck out of your client.
Take care when scheduling outside consultants and specialists.
Implementations often include consultants/specialists who execute key database integrations. These folks are busy (and expensive) and are usually needed at very specific points in the timetable. If your schedule slips and the consultant can’t complete their task at the appointed time, you might not be able to get them back right away.
Referencing timetables from previous projects will help you remind all participants how crucial these people are to the project’s success and how important it is to stay on track. If delays still occur, an audit can also help you identify/develop valuable workarounds that can be executed to keep things moving until the consultant returns.
Creating and updating project templates.
Finally, audits help you not only create but continuously update your software templates, which typically outline project milestones, phases, tasks and/or subtasks, participants, SaaS software users and/or user types.
How impressed will your client be when they see virtually every step of the implementation laid out in advance on templates located within a centralized database every participant can access, 24/7?
Best of all, templates can be added or revised while a project is underway and then used for subsequent implementations. You can even make them product, industry or market-specific, with every task and key integration point clearly laid out. Your client knows who to put on the implementation team right from the get-go.
Everyone—you, the client, vendors, consultants—wants the implementation to go off without a hitch. Knowing where and when pain points occurred in the past—and keeping a close eye on developments once the project is underway— will help you prevent or lessen their impact in the future.
The customer is thrilled to be up and running quickly and you start generating revenue now, rather than three months from now.
In other words, everybody wins.
Learn how the right project management software can get your SaaS implementations on track. Get our Quick Guide to Solving the 9 Biggest SaaS Implementation Problems.