May 26, 2020

Video: Is Now the Right Time to Implement a New System?


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In this video, Partners Roderick Carmody and John Hoebler discuss how companies are leveraging this time to implement new systems and upgrade their existing systems to help their organizations add significant long-term value.

Got 5 minutes? Emerge Stronger: Executive Insights for Uncertain Times is a weekly video series where we share perspectives on what we’re hearing from clients and the market about what companies are doing to navigate these challenging times and plan ahead for success.

Watch here, or continue for the full transcript.

RODERICK CARMODY: Hi, I’m Roderick Carmody, and today’s topic is deploying Finance and HR Systems in uncertain times. Today I’m joined by John Hoebler, partner at CrossCountry and leader of our Technology Solutions Practice.

John, thanks for joining me. I know you’re busy, but I appreciate you squeezing me in between Jimmy Fallon and Conan.

JOHN HOEBLER: No problem, Roderick. Glad to be here.

RODERICK CARMODY: Okay. What are you seeing in the market as it relates to deployment of Finance and Accounting Systems in the current market environment?

JOHN HOEBLER: You know, we have over a hundred deployment projects going on right now across our company, and only a handful of them have paused, the vast majority of them, after getting used to work from home has moved forward. In fact, we had seven go live in April alone.

And what people are finding actually, it actually can be more efficient because you don’t have the distractions of the office around. So we’re able to get it done remotely and companies are moving forward with the projects as planned for the most part.

RODERICK CARMODY: That’s great to hear about in flight projects. But what about new systems deployments? Are companies jumping in to start a project in this environment?

JOHN HOEBLER: Well, companies are definitely factoring the environment into the decision-making process. But many of them are actually moving forward. They’re looking to upgrade their systems and their infrastructure.

What’s happened is this new work environment has exposed some weaknesses in the company’s BCP plans, processes and systems. Other companies that are doing well realize that there’s existing systems, aren’t scaling for them. So they’ve got a different problem.

So for example, let’s say if you’re a small company that runs on QuickBooks, you’re probably really struggling with some of the limitations of that tool. You may choose to fix the problem by deploying a modern cloud solution for HR, finance, planning or procurement. We’re actually seeing this time that for companies to digitize these key business functions, so they can emerge stronger from the crisis. They get process efficiencies that will directly lead to costs reductions in the long run, in enterprise-level systems that can support them in the good times and the crises.

RODERICK CARMODY: So John, I hear you, but with all the uncertainties is now really the right time to get started on a project like this?

JOHN HOEBLER: It’s a valid point, Roderick. But what I’ve seen companies do is use it as a rallying cry for their organization. You know, it’s uncertain times, there’s all kinds of news out there. It allows a company to focus on something that’s going to add a lot of long-term value. And the team really comes together to kind of make the company stronger on the other side of this. So executives can use it as a way to motivate their team during a different work environment.

Also, in theory, some parts of your company may have more downtime now because of the crisis. So if you slowed hiring for example, your recruiting and HR team probably has a little bit of excess capacity to help sit in design sessions and test these applications. On the finance side, you might have slowed spend down, so your procurement team, your expense management teams, they have additional hours available – they can use that time to really work on the new system design.

In a normal deployment project, these users actually have to wear two hats. It’s very stressful for them – their day job, and then their job on the deployment. So this is really a way to use that extra time and extra capacity that we have, to really add value long term.

RODERICK CARMODY: Thanks John, and what is CrossCountry itself doing as it relates to finance and HR systems in this environment?

JOHN HOEBLER: We actually did that same analysis, and we plan to emerge stronger from this crisis for a lot of the reasons I just mentioned. Now is the right time to do an investment at CrossCountry. We’ve had some flaws exposed in our existing processes and systems, so we selected Workday to be our HR, finance, and planning system. Our new solution will consolidate about eight different business process systems and, when we look at the cost, actually saves us money in the long run. The cost of Workday is not that much more than what we paid for everything else combined, and it will save a ton of time in keying data in from one system to another, or having to use Excel to build reports out for our management team that we do today. Instead, Workday will provide all of that.

So in summary, we made the investment because Workday will reduce our overall operating costs over time, be a key enabler for our global strategic growth plan, streamline our processes and reduce manual steps and paper, provide our leaders, like you Roderick, real time, actionable data so you can run your business better, and provide our most important assets, our employees, with a great self service tool that will streamline the many functions that they do today across many systems, including recruiting, on-boarding, time tracking, expenses, performance management and learning. So we’re leaning in to emerge stronger at CrossCountry. This is going to be a great way for us to emerge and continue to grow past this crisis.

RODERICK CARMODY: Thanks, John. You’ve given us a lot to think about, and really pointing to the fact that maybe now is the right time to deploy a Finance and HR System despite the uncertain times.

John, thanks again for your time. I appreciate you joining me and thank you for joining me as well.