When demand for your software product takes off, there’s a temptation to hire additional staff to help handle the new implementations and grow your business exponentially. Unfortunately, adding expensive SaaS implementation experts diminishes your revenue growth and nobody wants that.
More importantly, it’s just not necessary!
Today’s cloud-based project management tools can help you skip the new hire interviews entirely by streamlining the implementation process and letting the experts you already have complete more client onboardings in significantly less time.
In this post we’ll look at how the right tools for implementation management can keep your overhead costs in check by helping your implementation staff work smarter, not harder.
You’ll get new customers up and running quickly and—best of all—your revenue growth maintains its upward trajectory.
Complete visibility for every task, 24/7, from start to finish
Fast growing SaaS companies can have anywhere from 30 to 50 implementations underway at any given time. As such, most have grown to the point where they have staff dedicated solely to implementations, with each team member assigned by skillset.
The implementation teams they monitor and work with include vendor and client project managers; technical implementation experts and consultants (DEVs) from multiple disciplines; client-side IT leadership; business/department managers who own the solution internally; and senior management personnel who must sign-off on key project milestones.
That’s a lot of technology expertise trying to work together. Using spreadsheets and other outdated methodologies to track where the project stands and determine who needs to do what at any given moment can sometimes become, well, a nightmare.
Cloud-based project management software, on the other hand, gives everyone on-line access to a central database that provides up-to-the-minute project status, 24/7. Knowing where every project stands at a given moment makes your implementation teams that much more efficient, with each member able to work on multiple implementations—putting out fires, executing workarounds and keeping things moving.
It also allows their client- and vendor-side counterparts to quickly check the project’s status, so everyone is always up to date. You can even set the system to automatically notify participants when an important milestone has been reached, or that one individual’s approval is still needed before the project can proceed. Granted, delays won’t disappear entirely, but their cost in terms of time can be significantly diminished.
Established, repeatable implementation processes are a must.
The RFPs are rolling in and the folks in sales are getting downright giddy. The last thing you want your implementation staff doing is inventing or reinventing various aspects of the implementation process each time they begin a new project.
Locking down the process before you start means that the path is clear, and perhaps more importantly, the next implementation will move even more efficiently. And that’s entirely doable because most SaaS implementations are made up of common, repeatable steps.
Project kick offs tend to be similar in terms of which client- and vendor-side personnel needs to be involved. Client-side software integrations usually include security, identity, and other common internal databases. And it’s likely you’ve already developed product testing best practices and executed your “go live” processes multiple times.
Project management software lets you put all that and more on electronic templates that list every implementation step/integration point before the project even begins. That lets you, the client and vendors choose, deploy and track personnel right at the outset—putting people with the right skill sets on the right project at the right time. Clients and vendors know how the implementation will proceed and who to assign to it right from the get-go.
Monitoring your outside vendors and consultants.
Another critical part of the implementation involves scheduling and monitoring key tech consultants. These experts are in high demand, expensive and often step in at very specific points in the project’s timeline. You probably already have a docket of “go to” consultants who do a lot of work for you.
Project management tools help you maintain a close business relationship with these folks. Your implementation staff can, for example, schedule consultants by task, notify them in advance and send automated reminders before the project begins. Consultants can log-in to see how many upcoming projects they’ve been assigned, track time spent versus estimated time, and forward that data to you via the system’s workspace exports. You can, in turn, leverage that data to further refine implementation timelines.
If your schedule slips and a consultant can’t complete their task at the appointed time, no problem: the system’s real-time audit capability helps your staff review completed tasks and identify workarounds to keep things moving until the consultant returns.
And speaking of audits, your staff can also conduct post implementation reviews—by individual task if necessary—to drive further process improvements. Unique workarounds can be archived for future reference. Templates can be revised by product, industry and/or market, with key integration points updated and streamlined.
Real-time visibility = a faster onboarding
The right project management tool gives everyone in your company the appropriate view into upcoming deadlines, project delays, and task dependencies. Keeping everyone up to date lets your existing staff monitor/execute multiple implementations simultaneously and keep everyone and everything moving.
These are cloud-based tools built specifically for your SaaS implementation experts. Like your own software, upfront investment costs are minimal, the tools are expandible, data is captured and stored in a centralized location, and user adoption is easy.
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.