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It's Not You, It's Your Software | Embracing the Future as a Digital CFO

Nov 7, 2023
Mary Katherine Field
Emily Madere

During this webinar, we will delve into topics that accounting and finance personnel are eager to learn more about, such as trends shaping accounting and finance and how a digital CFO would gauge, evaluate, and implement new software solutions.


Emily Madere:

Hi everybody. And like German said, welcome. Let's meet some of my other co-presenters. Krystal Pertuit is a director with EisnerAmper's advisory service group where she leads a team of business professionals who serve as a strategic technology resource to organizations in a number of industries. Mary Katherine Moore is a senior with EisnerAmper Advisor service groups where she works with organizations to help develop and improve technology processes in all areas of their business, including accounting, operations and reporting. And then myself, Emily Madere... Organizations learn how they can... On the agenda today, we'll be talking about technology trends that are shaping the accounting and finance industry. How do you know it's the right time to select a new solution and how do you evaluate new solutions and then ensuring a successful implementation? Krystal, why don't you take it from here?

Krystal Pertuit:

Thank you, Emily. I'm going to kick us off with technology trends that are shaping accounting and finance today. For the past few years, business models have been reinvented and organizations around the world have transformed in one way or another. And so as we forge ahead into the back half of this year, companies are continuing to embrace change, find new ways to grow and prepare for the future. And so with this, several key technology trends have surfaced that are shaping accounting and finance today. And so the first one that you're seeing here is the cloud is definitely here today. What this means is that businesses of all sizes will continue to refine their cloud infrastructure. Additional applications will be leveraged to fill functionality gaps that are in current system infrastructures. And of course, as industry has evolved, you will begin to see replacement cycles for those applications that are failing to meet organizational needs.

And probably near and dear to all of our hearts recently, ongoing cybersecurity threat levels that again, we're all very familiar with today will continue to keep agility and resiliency top of mind when accounting and finance leaders are considering technology. And last but certainly not least, new and replacement technology buyers will seek cloud-based systems that incorporate not only automation, but also analytics. This will in turn, allow businesses to continue to work how they want, whether that's in person, remotely or hybrid. The cloud is very well suited to what's known as a Best-in-Class approach, and this approach to seeking new systems has definitely become popular over the years. Emily, please talk us through what this concept looks like.

Emily Madere:

Yeah, no problem. Thank you. So a Best-in-Class software is really designed to focus in on and excel within a single functional area of the business. It does this by offering specific features to the functional area it serves such as the financial management team. Best-in-Class software is also for its in-depth functionality and its ability to integrate within other softwares. A really great example of this is integrating your accounting system with your selected HR payroll vendor. Organizations who choose Best-in-Class software approach are able to leverage the inherent benefits of the cloud by connecting multiple Best-in-Class applications to make the most of your software decisions. And by allowing each functional area or department to choose the right system that works for them. When implemented and integrated properly, the end product delivers new levels of automation, visibility, and collaboration instead of those isolated manual processes that we see sometimes today.

So the second trend is the use of automation in accounting is being accelerated by the labor crunch. While the labor shortage continues, organizations are investing in upskilling existing staff to meet new demands, implementing new technology that makes business more attractive to new hires. The new generations are really coming into the workforce expecting modern technology because that's what they're seeing in their various internships that they have when they're in college, and then using automation as a human extender to improve accuracy and efficiency. Mary Katherine, can you please tell us more about some of these key technologies that are assisting with automation?

Mary Katherine Field:

Yeah, absolutely. So there's several key technologies that we're seeing companies use in terms of automation. So the first one I'm going to talk about is called Robotic Process Automation. So a great example of this is what's called AP Automation, which we're seeing a lot of softwares use today. AP automation is going to take over a lot of those repetitive tasks that exist within payables and allow team members to extend their reach and focus on issues that require human interaction.

So the second key technology that we're seeing in automation is called an intelligent general ledger. So things like GL outlier detection or helping to reduce errors and automate your core accounting processes. And they're using AI or AI powered anomaly detection to do that. So the third key technology for automation is dynamic allocations and continuous consolidation. So that's helping to automate your core accounting processes and ensuring a faster close. To elaborate further a little bit, dynamic allocations, so that's providing an opportunity to automate your after the fact allocations. So taking a feature like dynamic allocations is using a set account balance for a specific period and allocating out across a selected dimension or location or maybe entity according to a defined basis.

Krystal Pertuit:

All right. Very interesting, Mary Katherine. I am going to go ahead and cover this next trend which holds hands tightly with what Mary Katherine just described to us, which is accounting artificial intelligence, also known as AI, investment will of course, continue to grow. And so with AI and robotic process automation and automation adoption, you're going to continue to see this acceleration and drive within industries to move forward transformation. And so even in industries that are typically late to what we call digital transformation, we're actually seeing adoption of automated solutions. So let's talk about a few of those industries. The first one being retail and wholesale distribution. And so we're seeing the need to really better manage inventory and also offer self-service capabilities in stores. And so an example of this, for example, love it or hate it, the self-checkout line. We've all seen this evolve over time.

And one of the ways that these new technologies are being used is of course, to reduce staff and to allow for the ability for customers to be able to self-serve and the ability to really understand whether or not a customer is accurately and effectively using the self-service checkout is definitely part of this. Now, the second area that we're seeing where this investment's growing of course, is in the HR payroll space. And so as Emily mentioned earlier, there has been of course, labor crunch. And so the ability to automate routine workforce tasks and direct those resources internally towards recruiting and retention of employees is becoming more and more important. And so some areas where we're seeing more automation include timekeeping, payroll, compliance, and this really could include outsourcing part or even all of a company's HR and payroll function.

And then even of course, into the transportation industry. Of course, supply chain backups have been off and on. And companies within the transportation industry are really looking to go more paperless and digitize data so that they can really look at optimizing logistics and of course, manage rising costs.

And then consumer in-home services. So we've all had a scenario where we've had some type of maintenance, other type of one site services, potentially, especially seeing a growing demand since a lot of us are continuing to work from home. And so I'll give you just a quick story that I had where I was working from home over a very hot summer recently and had to have an air conditioning service provider come in. And that individual came in with his laptop and I was able to interact automatically with that individual to not only sign off on the services that were needing to be provided, but to also very easily make payment.

And so being able to really automate what's happening in the field with the customer and to communicate back to the home office is helping these industries really digitize their core operations and to make their field service more effective and allow for payment to be gathered more quickly in these types of industries. So Mary Katherine, tell us a little bit more about how analytics action storytelling are continuing to converge with the state automation.

Mary Katherine Field:

Yeah. So analytics, action and storytelling are going to be your fourth and final trend here. So for most businesses, analytics is not a new concept. All leaders are seeking to gain more insights, and businesses are constantly analyzing their performance. Just being able to put information into action is key. So finance leaders, their roles are increasingly beginning to include working in other areas of their business and being able to leverage data that's held by finance to add insight, drive efficiency and increase profitability is really important. So open cloud infrastructure, which is a relatively new in the last decade concept, is helping businesses gain access faster to their data. And data automation is helping to gather that information in a timely manner so that it can be used for timely decision-making purposes. Integrating your interactive financial data with your operational system is going to help your users to take action in response to that data directly from within an application.

Providing access not only to your traditional finance users, but also to other stakeholders across your business is going to help empower those stakeholders to really see the full picture of your business and take control of their decision areas. Now, a picture is worth a thousand words. So what you're seeing here on the screen is just one example of how organizations may adopt a real-time dashboard or maybe a management team for example, might adopt a real-time dashboard to send out some critical information and to allow those end users to see key performance indicator as they apply to their department or entity.

You may also provide access to a broader range of your employees, but really, dashboards are just useful in helping decentralize critical information as it relates to functional areas in your business. Now we see some clients also give access to lenders or auditors or CPAs that they may be working with, as well as board members. Getting that realtime access just helps express that key information and just build trust and relationships. Now, keeping those benefits in mind, when might it be time for you to start thinking how your business could use some of these tools? I'm going to let Krystal take that one on.

Krystal Pertuit:

Thanks, Mary Katherine. So yeah, so you're looking at a lot of things that are coming in new and modern cloud-based systems. But if you don't have a system like that, how do you know when it's the right time to evaluate new software? And so we talk about this often, the conversation usually centers around symptoms associated with the need for new software, and all of those symptoms can really add up to a big diagnosis. You really need new software when the cost to continue on your current path exceeds the price of the new software.

So, I know that that does sound a little simplistic, but the catch really is to determine your cost to do nothing. Organizations often feel if you're not writing a check, for example, your current methods are not costing you anything. But with tight budgets, it might seem that staying put feels safe and cost-effective, but in reality, you might be incurring a very broad range of hidden costs. So let's go ahead and look at a few clues that can uncover the cost to do nothing. And so with that, I'm going to let Emily get us started with our clue searching.

Emily Madere:

Yeah. Okay. So clue number one is that your team needs the ability and flexibility to work outside of the office. The idea here is anytime, anywhere, and if you move to the cloud, that's really a key benefit of moving to the cloud. The whole finance team can work anywhere only using a standard secured web browser and an internet connection. You really don't need the extra security hardware or software infrastructure or a VPN connection. Clue number two is that we need to compete with bigger businesses on a smaller budget. Speaking of the cloud, cloud-based financial management solutions, they really allow you to tap into world-class infrastructure. Your selected vendor will spread the cost over thousands of customers, offering you a far high level of performance, reliability, and security that you may have not been able to afford on your own. Plus, cloud applications can be rolled out in significantly less time than an installed base product and are upwardly and downwardly scalable.

Lastly, a true cloud-based solution is usually built on a single code base, allowing for innovation to be focused in on new features and functionalities in the product rather than maintaining multiple versions of the same product. For example, Sage Intacct rolls out four major feature and functionality releases a year. And clue number three, my business needs to accelerate financial processes without increasing IT headcount or budget. High ROI is common with today's cloud applications through time-saving processes and efficiency. Really do more with less. As we've already spoken about modern cloud-based systems offer extensive automation and integration capabilities, helping your current team increase productivity enough to potentially reduce or eliminate new hiring needs. And I'll hand it over to Mary Katherine.

Mary Katherine Field:

Yeah, awesome. All right. So the fourth clue here is my organization struggles with inefficient processes. So at an up close and personal level, just talk with each other, talk with the end users. They can't really tell you what's working, but they probably can tell you what's not working right off the bat. When what's not working begins to outweigh what is working, it might be time to evaluate a new solution. Now, new software can help you tie in other company functions and processes and really make that big picture a big connected picture.

So the fifth clue is my organization has an over-reliance on spreadsheets. So this is one that we see a lot. Legacy ERPs or starter accounting solutions like QuickBooks, that financial foundation there could mean cumbersome workarounds. If your current software doesn't have built-in reporting capabilities or maybe that reporting process is a little bit more complex, you may end up having to find some workarounds to get your data out of the system for reporting purposes. Modern systems enable your companies to sidestep some of those pitfalls that you might have when you're managing by spreadsheet, but using spreadsheets to work around those system limitations often also lead to data entry errors, a lot of wasted time and resources and just an overall lack of control and compliance. So moving towards modern accounting systems really helps companies overcome some of these issues.

Now that sixth clue, my financial system needs to integrate with other applications. So each time that a person or a user is having to physically move information or manually write information or manually enter the same data in multiple places, all of that adds to the cost of doing nothing. And often, that ends up leading to bottlenecks within your operations. So many companies do not have a truly integrated accounting solution or an accounting solution that's integrating with other key business applications to source data, and that often leads to limitations. So at best, your data may be exported from one system and imported into another, whether that's being done manually or through an outdated connection. But often, that idea around integration does involve some sort of manual manipulation of the data, which is just not an ideal when it comes to data integrity.

Now if you ask, what are some of those workarounds that we see people using often, well, at the end of the day, having to go in and manually research data, manually pull data from multiple sources, at the end of the day, that's just timing, from a timeliness perspective. The amount of time that needs to be taken to verify that data and then ultimately, put it somewhere else to be captured is just a bottleneck in and of itself.

So the seventh clue, seventh and final is my managers want or need self-service access to their relevant KPIs. So this is tying back to those dashboards and visibility components that we were talking about earlier. But like I mentioned, we've spoken about those real-time visibility options, but many legacy and starter systems only offered canned reports in relatively standard formats. Not many of them offer dashboards. So your visibility is pretty limited and the different ways that you can visualize your data is pretty limited. So you're often forced to either make decisions based on outdated data or manually manipulate the data to get that information out of it, which like I mentioned earlier, can lead to inefficient processes, inaccurate data, or poor decision making.

So by adopting those modern financial systems, you can really transform the way you analyze your information and become a strategic partner for your organization. So keeping all of these clues in mind, it might be important to consider evaluating a new solution. So I'll let Emily talk to you guys a little bit about that.

Emily Madere:

Thank you, Mary Katherine. Now on to one of my favorite topics is, how do you evaluate a new solution? So you've established that there's a cost to staying put and compelling reasons to evaluate a new accounting and financial management software. Now what? When it's time to begin your evaluation, it's essential to remember that you are ultimately choosing a sophisticated software application. Before we dive into how do you evaluate accounting new software, I think it's important that we understand some key terminology that being vendors and resellers.

Vendors create and develop solutions. For example, financial management solution or payroll software and authorizes and supports the resellers. Resellers are licensed to sell, implement the vendor solutions. And when you're working with resellers, they really help to ensure a successful outcome for implementation and can ultimately drive down costs. It's important to remember that these relationships typically only happen in large, well-established software vendors. Krystal, do you want to walk us through why reseller partnerships matter?

Krystal Pertuit:

Absolutely. Thanks, Emily. So it really all comes down to when you're adopting new software for your business, it's not exactly the same thing, it's just purchasing or downloading a new app onto your phone. As you may know today, the investments in money, time and training, they're no joke and there's never really any guarantee that a deployment will not fail. So it is super important to select not only the right solution for your organization, but also to make sure that you have the right implementation partner. And so there are consultancy services that a reseller offers, and these are very invaluable in addressing several key questions that should be answered to ensure that you are moving forward into a successful deployment. Some of these questions are asking, what is it that the organization actually needs to get out of this project and how does the organization want for those needs to be satisfied?

So it's not all about just selling a software solution, but it's really being able to put the right solution into place and make sure that it meets the needs of the organization. Some other questions that should be asked are what sort of resources and infrastructure does the organization currently have and what if any, changes need to be made? So part of a software reseller's job is to really sit down with the client, make sure these questions are being addressed before moving forward with selling and implementing the software. So in short, the reseller really has more skin in the game than a vendor's direct sales team. Resellers must work with the customers to again, understand their specific needs, tailor their solutions to use the vendor's product, which can make the software an even better fit for the customer and demonstrate the value of the solution within the context of the customer's entire tech stack.

Emily Madere:

Krystal, before we move on, we do have a question that popped into the chat that I think is directed at you. And the question is, how do I know if a specific software solution is sold through a vendor or reseller?

Krystal Pertuit:

That's a great question. So as you mentioned earlier, Emily, reseller relationships are typically found in large established software vendors. So for example, Sage or Salesforce, those are two big vendors that are pretty big in the marketplace, especially around financial management systems and CRM systems. So oftentimes, these vendors will maintain a list of resellers on their websites. You can hit up their website and see what resellers are listed on the website. But there are a few other resources that we like, especially as we're going to talk in a moment around software selection, how you go about that process most efficiently.

Some trusted sites that we like to look at are G2, TrustRadius. I like to call these resources the Amazons of the software review world. So real end users can go out and leave reviews for both the software and the reseller partners. But I always do recommend that our clients also gain feedback from their network, whether that be their peer group, maybe if you're part of a financial leadership group, even talking to your CPA and understanding their experiences not only with vendors but also with any resellers or implementation partners that they have worked with. So our group is very familiar with this space as well. We're always happy to help make those connections.

So another place that we can help our clients navigate this is through the evaluation and selection of new software solutions. So let's go ahead and I guess move forward and talk about how that process works. All right, so there's several steps to evaluating new solutions. We've alluded to really this first piece a couple times today, which is gathering requirements. So you might've already done this legwork with those previous detective activities that Mary Katherine and Emily went through with us previously, but it really is imperative to carefully define and document your user's needs. And again, going back to the what's working, what's not working conversation. Make sure that you're getting input and gaining consensus from key users not only in finance but also in related departments across the organization. Again, when you're looking to roll out a new solution, it's important again to create that connected ecosystem for visibility throughout the organization.

And those end users, of course, are going to know better than anyone what the problems are associated with the current way of working. And they'll also need reassuring that the new system will actually be better than the current way of working. As human beings, we don't like change. So the best way to calm any fears is to ensure that end users' needs are making their way onto the requirements list. Of course, that does help with buy-in as well. Some examples of important requirements are not only functional but also usability requirements.

And IT needs to get involved here too. There will be some technological preferences that they'll want to cover and of course, budgetary requirements. So after you've gathered requirements and we move into identifying top priorities and challenges, no system is ever going to meet every need for every user. So that's why it's important to determine which functionality and requirements are must haves and begin to rank them so that you can select a system that best fits your team's unique needs. So unfortunately, it is unlikely that you're going to find just one off the shelf package that really hits every single one of your criteria. So you do need to carefully think about which ones you'd be happy to potentially compromise over.

And then the last piece that you're seeing on this particular slide is creating a requirements' matrix. So we've gone through the exercise of establishing those requirements and now, it's time to list those needs and expectations within a requirements' matrix. And so this will be used later in the process to really assess the software against your criteria. So what you're going to want to do is use the same format for all solutions to help make that apples to apples comparison of all of those solutions.

So now that you've moved past these first three steps, let's talk about the last three. So research. Research really is the best thing to do next here, is going online, developing a list. And so you can reference some of those resources I mentioned a little bit earlier. G2, TrustRadius, Gartner are all great for real world reviews by actual end users. You are going to want to of course, sift through competing offerings, comb through independent research and reviews, and again, talk with trusted user groups to see what others are using and what their experience is. You're probably going to come up with a pretty big list at this point, so it doesn't make sense for you to try to dive in and talk with each and every one of these. Whittling down the list is really the next thing to do. So start excluding those options. So go through the list one at a time, concentrate on maybe a few simple criteria from your list.

And so if you're saying, "I feel overwhelmed at this point, where do I start?" A good place to start is first with technology preferences. So for example, if the product only works on Macs and you are a Windows company, great. That's one less set of things to look at. If it is an on-premises solution and you're looking for a cloud-based solution, go ahead and cross it off the list. And the next big piece to look at that can quickly knock a solution off the list is budget. So if you have a set budget, which you should before you go into this process, if the software is too expensive, make a note of the price and move one. Now, don't throw the list entirely away. You might need to come back and figure out where you want to make some compromises on budget, but you can usually quickly exclude systems on just these two criteria alone. And ideally, you'll want to end up with a short list of say, five to 10 solutions that you're really going to spend more time on.

And so once you get to that shortlist, then you will want to engage with that shortlist of solutions. What this looks like is, of course, contacting those vendors or resellers and starting to have conversations, sharing your requirements' matrix that you put together earlier. And of course, at the end of the day, you're going to want to go through a careful evaluation for how well the solution functions against your requirements. One of the best ways to do this, of course, is to request a demonstration. But even trialing the software is a good option too. If the software vendor allows for you to have a trial of the software, this could be a great way to assess the usability of the solution, but do your due diligence, score, and at the end of the day work to select the right solution for you and for the team.

So as you are looking at vendors, I like to call this marriage, if you will, because you will be working with this vendor for a long time. There are some attributes that you are going to want to look for in that vendor or reseller that you're working with. Starting here over on the left-hand side, implementation success is huge. You are going to want to make sure that your vendor can point to a proven track record of successful implementations, but not only implementation success, but operational track record. So find out how your vendor conducts business. Does their company fit with the culture of your company? Data ownership is also huge, especially when you are working in a cloud-based environment. Make sure that you're able to, if you ever were to move away from a solution, that you can obtain a copy of the data.

This could be for a fee of course, and so you have an option if this relationship ever ends to either archive that data or get the data out of the cloud-based solution. And then the last thing that you're seeing here on the left-hand side is infrastructure and security. And so this goes back to something that I talked about towards the beginning of this presentation, which is understanding the infrastructure and security of the solution so that you feel confident that the cybersecurity risks are relatively low or monitored. And we do often recommend that our clients obtain a SOC2 report for the vendor service offering.

As we move over here to the right-hand side, we're starting to talk about things that are monetarily related, so ROI. Making sure that you take the time to carefully structure a proper ROI can definitely be important to the decision-making process. Make sure that you're looking at different ROI scenarios, whether that be hard dollar or soft dollar costs, and also timelines to determine how long is it going to take to get that payback, if you will, for your investment. And then the next thing on here is total cost of ownership or TCO. It holds hands of course, very tightly with ROI. There are various financial models between the solutions. For example, an on-premises total cost of ownership is very different than a cloud-based total cost of ownership where cloud can be far lower than on-premises, although it may not seem like that upfront. But with a cloud-based solution, the only ongoing cost should be those monthly fees for your software subscription ongoing support and configuration.

So if you are comparing the two, remember that the software licensing of the on-premises solution only makes up a very small percentage. You have these hidden costs, if you will, that include things like needing to customize a solution, to maintain hardware, to have IT personnel on staff to manage it or even sub that out, ongoing maintenance, training, tuning customization. It's just a lot of different things that really can be hidden costs. So definitely keep those in mind. And of course, sometimes, those things can translate into a much more difficult investment hurdle. And then the last two things here, support agreement and service level agreement. Make sure that you do have a good support agreement that specifies level support that you have, whether you get some free support or what paid support looks like. Understand if you have support, whether that be US based resources or offshore resources. Find out where your support team is located.

It's also a good idea to inquire about the people that will be supporting you. Will, there'll be accounting experts, seasoned representatives available to talk to, if needed. And then with the service level agreement, definitely given the stakes for implementing solutions, again, take a lot of time, take a lot of money, make sure that you have a world-class service level agreement. This should definitely be non-negotiable in dealing with a cloud-based computer provider. And because it is cloud, you are definitely going to be relying more heavily on your vendor for support. So you can't simply just walk down the hall and ask your IT department for assistance if you run into a problem.

Look for transparency in the SLA. Make sure that the vendors are not afraid to publish they're 12 months histories for current system status, their downtime, and even their responsiveness within the product. If they do not have this publicly available, it should be a pretty big red flag. All right, so you've selected the solution hopefully at this point. Let's talk about how you ensure a successful implementation for that selected solution. We'll go ahead and turn things over to Mary Katherine.

Mary Katherine Field:

Yeah. All right. So what are some of the keys that we see in successful implementations? So ultimately, it starts and ends all at the top. So we like to look at this in a tiered approach. So starting up at the top, support from leadership. So like I said, it starts at the top. Research shows that strong and unwavering leadership support is a critical success factor in ensuring organization-wide adoption of a new software and really just project in general. So leaders are going to need to continually engage, encourage, motivate, and really remove any obstacles from key personnel in the implementation so that that implementation can be successful. A new business system is a transformational endeavor, and a leadership team that is focused on positive transformation is ultimately going to have greater success than one who tends to be more business as usual and take that approach.

So the second tier here is clear project goals. So like many other projects, a major software implementation is going to require very clear project goals and objectives. Now these goals and objectives need to be determined and very clearly set at the beginning of the project and communicated early and often to everyone that's going to be involved. So the next piece here in our tier is to focus on project scope. So once you've clarified that initial scope, it's really crucial that you don't deviate from it without a pretty rigorous review of why the change is necessary. You would expect some minor adjustments potentially, but any major adjustments you're going to want to avoid. Just at the beginning of your project, prioritizing what your primary scope needs to be and planning for that phase two, for those additional items is just a good business practice and ultimately, it's going to allow you to complete your project and move those new ideas to a second phase once your implementation team is completed and has had a little bit of time to recharge, but it just ensures that your primary scope does accomplish your immediate needs.

So that fourth piece here is going to be consistent communication. So as you'd probably expect with any major project, clear and consistent communication is a very critical success factor. We really recommend that project managers and anyone responsible for really overseeing and managing the project as a whole, just really anyone that's involved in the project needs to clearly articulate progress. Any milestones, celebrate those that's important. And ultimately, engaging in any discussions that could encourage innovation or process improvements. This is a really great opportunity to have those conversations.

So the fifth component here is empowered teams. So this is a really, really important one in this tier. So implementation team members need to have the authority to make business decisions for their department or whatever functional area they represent. This saves valuable time and ultimately, allows your organization to overcome obstacles that may impede the project's progress without having complicated processes to make decisions and to approve those decisions.

Now ultimately, how important is it for you to have your A players on the implementation? Well, I'd say it's critically important. While it might be tempting to put people on the project that have more time maybe in their schedule or are considered less busy, at the end of the day, a project like this is really going to need or require your best resources.

So the final item in this tier here is going to be recognizing the importance of innovation. So we've used that word a lot throughout this presentation, but ultimately, a part of this project or implementation, your leaders really need to emphasize that there's a lot of innovation that's going to come from your software implementation and just how important and impactful that innovation is going to be. This can be happening on your virtual calls with colleagues. Even in the break room or just when you're together socially after work, reinforcing the value of the project from an innovation perspective, that can come from anywhere, but especially having your leadership team backing that is really critical and it really shouldn't be the only time that they're hearing about digital transformation or innovation.

Now a major software project, like I mentioned, is undoubtedly going to bring change to your organization and change can be really hard for some people, but to help ease that, having leadership that is emphasizing innovation and the innovative aspects of this project and how the improvements that will come from that is really going to go a long way in bringing the whole team on board. All right, I think we'll hand it back to Emily.

Emily Madere:

Oh, I was muted. Mary Katherine, we do have a question for you and it's addressing the Best-in-Class versus suite. So the question is, is it more complex to implement a Best-in-Class solution over all in one solution?

Mary Katherine Field:

Yeah. That's a really great question. So a lot of times, an all-in-one or what you might know as a suite solution, they're really just Best-in-Class solutions that are in disguise. So vendors might be taking multiple products, for example, accounting or payroll, and they're marketing them as a single solution, but in fact, they're really two distinct solutions that have just been integrated together. But to answer your question, if your Best-in-Class solution, if that approach is incorporating more customized, seamlessly integrated products, that's comparable to implementing a suite solution. Now, if your implementation is incorporating, like I mentioned, more customized integrations that have to be developed to meet specific needs, that implementation is going to be a little bit more complex. But the silver lining there is that at the end of the day, you're getting a solution that's been customized and tailored fit to you and really is what works best for your organization as a whole, even if it does require more complex integration considerations.

Emily Madere:

Okay, thank you so much, Mary Katherine. Okay. We had some really great questions. Thank you everyone for joining. I can't advance the slide. Oh, there we go. Thank you everyone for joining. We hope that this webinar was informative and that you learned a little bit about evaluating software and some really good trends that are coming out of the world today. Thank you again for joining now back to German.

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