First and foremost, you must understand your requirements and resources –which includes your current IT infrastructure, available budget, and human resources.
Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your existing processes. Consider:
- What workflow problems do you encounter?
- What pain points do you wish could be addressed?
- What elements in your current budgeting process do you not want to lose?
- What capabilities does your current IT system have or not have for a new tool? (Consult with your tech department if you are not sure.)
Then think about your available resources.
- How much time and money are you willing to spend first on the research, and second on the actual budgeting solution itself?
- Is there room in your timeline for user acceptance training?
- When the software is installed, you will need to allocate staff resources towards employee training, changing business processes, licensing, maintenance, and support.
With that in mind, also consider your current IT team. Having a conversation with your CIO can help you identify what resources you have in-house and what you might need from your software provider.
A good rule of thumb –start small and walk before you run.
What does this look like with a budgeting solution?
It depends on your organization, but it could mean:
- Finding software that works with your existing applications, like a budgeting solution that uses Microsoft Excel.
- Rolling out the software to one employee at a time and performing user acceptance testing (UAT) before doing a company-wide implementation.
- Simplifying one part of your process at time. Maybe you create a new workflow before beginning rolling forecasting.
- Creating a strategy plan for further technology investments.
A budgeting solution can be a gateway to even more tech solutions, like automating your employee expense process, for example. But getting distracted from the task at hand will only hurt your current project. You do not have to do everything at once. It might be cliché but when it comes to implementing a budgeting solution, you want to be the tortoise, not the hare.
What is the end goal of your budgeting process?