Successful Project Implementations
Carmen Cerrelli, Tensoft Project Manager, has a strong background in international operations, project management and financial systems design as well as product implementation for both start-ups and large public companies. In a recent Q & A session, Tensoft Marketing Associate, Alejandro Barajas interviewed Carmen about her role at Tensoft, and her suggestions for software implementations.
BARAJAS: What makes for a successful implementation? Are there any key components that are essential to meeting this goal?
CERRELLI: The first is to have a support organization that knows how to provide interactive support, which allows buy-in from the customer. This is critical because it takes a team effort to make a successful project.
The second thing is to follow a clear project plan. Everyone must buy in on the dates, the times, the deliverables; the requirements doctrine must be clearly defined. By accurately defining the project, we know what the customer needs, what we need to do and what the customer needs to do, while setting realistic expectations for the project.
It’s also important to set up weekly meetings to touch base with the customer and implementation team. This constant feedback is very important. It allows me to track any important changes that take place throughout the implementation, and schedule new activities accordingly.
BARAJAS: How do you handle changes to project requirements during an implementation?
CERRELLI: Constantly being informed and having the team aligned with similar goals, allows for consistent communication, whether it’s daily, weekly, or even hourly.
Communication is absolutely key — especially during changes. When changes occur, it’s really important to document thoroughly, and get approval and sign-off from the project leads on the client side.
BARAJAS: Have you ever gone above and beyond to satisfy the needs of a customer?
CERRELLI: I think we do that every day. It’s simply the way we work at Tensoft. And keep in mind that each customer is so different that we’re constantly customizing our approach to match the needs of the project at hand.
BARAJAS: How does Tensoft’s focus on end-to-end solutions add value to customers?
CERRELLI: Having a single vendor whose experience and skill set is focused on a unified business management solution adds tremendous value for our customers. Without this cross-departmental approach, the result can be costly and time-consuming to fix as companies mature.
What we typically see happen is that young companies will invest in a “point solution” that primarily targets the needs of one department. As the company grows, the need for integration increases, and it becomes evident that integration isn’t as easy as the point solution vendor promised.
We’ve seen this scenario all too frequently — it can cause tremendous friction between departments, at the C level. By focusing on an end-to-end solution from the start, Tensoft can help set a much more scaleable growth path for our customers.
BARAJAS: Can you discuss how you make sure that the customers get value from Tensoft implementations?
CERRELLI: I think the secret is communication with them — even after their Go-Live. We stay in touch with our customers and provide a lot of support. When they’re first learning the system, a lot of questions arise. In response, we go in to see how we can add value by answering any questions and by providing a more efficient process for helping them streamline their operations.
BARAJAS: What role do Tensoft consultants play and what roles do the client team members play?
CERRELLI: I think it’s really important that everyone have a clear understanding of his or her task, because it’s all about execution. We have customers that want to do everything themselves, and then we have those that want us to do everything. With the customers that want to do it themselves we provide guidance, so that they get through what needs to get done. For the customers that prefer our services, we do a lot of the setup for them without guiding them every step of the way. What’s important is to constantly inform them of where we’re at through regular status updates. If customization is needed, we’re more than happy to help, depending on what they want and their specific needs.
BARAJAS: ERP implementations are a time of change, how do you handle change management during the implementation process?
CERRELLI: Having continuous feedback from the customer is the basis for the success or failure of any implementation. It’s essential that we align and work with our customer team, to make sure that they communicate to the rest of the company that the system is changing. Providing good training is also vital, so that the customer feels that you’re there for them and know how to anticipate the company’s needs. Ultimately, communication and buy-in from team members are the key ingredients for a successful implementation process.
BARAJAS: What’s most satisfying to you about your job?
CERRELLI:I really like the people, the Tensoft team, meeting the different groups of customers and working with different personalities. I have worked with many foreign-based businesses in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere, which I always find really interesting.
We’ve had many international customers with offices all over the world, so the exposure has been exciting and it’s pleasant to see into the international world of business. Working with Tensoft has allowed me to see first-hand people enjoying the benefits of bringing disparate information together in one place. No matter where in the world they are, where the factory or home office is, the information they need is at their fingertips.
BARAJAS: Thank you for your time Carmen!
For further information, please contact Caprice Murray, Tensoft Director of Business Development, at 888-450-4030 x406 or at firstname.lastname@example.org