Written by Dixie Vaughan
An HCM (Human Capital Management) system implementation is a major undertaking and involves a lot of effort from the client organization purchasing the system. Many companies make the decision to hire an external consultant to serve as a client-side advocate; specifically to represent the company during their HCM system implementation.
Why would an organization choose to bring in a client-side advocate?
One reason is that the company needs to temporarily supplement their internal HR staff. The company may have a small HR team. Perhaps their HR team is incredibly busy and they don’t have anyone on their team that can be pulled away from their day to day responsibilities to focus solely on the project for 20-40 hours per week for the duration of the project.
Another reason to bring in a client-side advocate is if the company needs a seasoned expert with extensive implementation and support experience to guide the internal team throughout the project. Having a client-side advocate is especially helpful if there aren’t many (or any) team members on the client’s HR team that have been involved with system implementations before, as there can be a steep learning curve to these types of projects.
The exact responsibilities of a client-side advocate can vary based on what the client organization needs. Some examples of areas where a client-side advocate can help include:
- Guiding the internal client team through decision making
- Sharing experience and insight gleaned from previous implementation projects at organizations of a similar size, industry, or where the same HCM system was previously implemented
- Providing internal project management
- Tracking internal issues and decisions
- Assisting with change management
- Assisting with documenting current and new processes
- Assisting with User Acceptance Testing
- Writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Assisting in providing best practice and procedure guidance
A client-side advocate can work with a client from pre-planning through post system go-live, or for shorter durations; for example, only the implementation phase. The longer the advocate works with the client company, the more valuable knowledge the advocate gains about the company’s goals, HR/Payroll/Finance needs, operations and culture. Because the value of the client-side advocate increases the longer the advocate works with a client, clients often request to continue to utilize a client-side advocate on a more long-term basis. This is especially helpful for organizations that are taking a phased implementation approach and implementing add-on modules once the implementation project for the core product has finished. If you want to learn more about how a client-side advocate could benefit your organization before you begin your next HCM system implementation, contact HRchitect.
HRchitect has worked with many different sized clients, industries, and systems, which gives us an expansive knowledge of best practice to help your organization. Further, if you are in the market for a new or replacement system, HRchitect’s Secure Selection process will help to ensure you choose the right system for your organization’s needs. Or if you have an existing HCM system, we can help with implementation and/or optimization to ensure that your organization gets the most from your new technology and that your investment continues working best for your organization.
About Dixie Vaughan
Dixie Vaughan is a Senior Consultant and Project Manager at HRchitect. She has over 25 years of experience in the HCM technology industry including applications development, implementation and support of major HCM systems including ADP Enterprise, PeopleSoft, Kronos, UltiPro, and many others.