What deployment approach works for you?

Thanks for taking the time to open and read my points of view, I’m extremely passionate about all the topics I blog about and even if you take one thing from this let me know. 

I can’t emphasise enough how important selecting the right deployment approach is, you and your teams will spend a huge amount of time and money defining your needs and how you will demonstrate value in your plans. If you don’t overly the value you expect with the right deployment approach for your business, and for your buyers if you are a provider, then you will not get the impact you expect.

My experience in the extended workforce industry as taught me, and teams I have worked with, some difficult lessons throughout the years. I have seen businesses push to deploy a big bang approach when they should have been more mindful to phase, and likewise seen a phased approached mean that making change and pivoting was too much of a challenge. You also need to be mindful that whatever approach you take sufficient business buy-in must be obtained, as if you don’t have stakeholders and key user groups aligned then someone will be further down the road with a huge stop sign that derails your best efforts.

It goes without saying that deploying an extended workforce program requires careful planning and consideration. Within this article I will summarise my personal views and experience on deployment approaches.

So, what are those high-level, common, approaches that we see?

Two common deployment approaches are the “Big Bang” and phased deployment methods.

Big Bang Deployment:

The Big Bang deployment approach involves implementing your extended workforce program all at once, across the entire business. Taking this approach needs serious consideration, especially if you are a complex organisation with a high volume of countries, multiple systems used for invoicing or have acquired businesses that may operate very differently from other areas of your business. I’m not saying that this approach will not work, but the risk is higher than one that is single country and of a small to mid-size.

I have read several articles, and listened to professionals, over my time that say a big bang approach will be more cost effective, find that return on investment is quicker and be able to deploy in a more rapid approach. 

I can’t say that I disagree in some instances, but feel these advantages are more commonly seen when the business using this method is of a less complex and is small to mid in size. Going all at once will for sure ensure that there is immediate impact across your full business, and you can manage any change in a single effort ensuring that your user population gets the same evolution. Albeit, managing that change will be a much bigger effort.

It can also ensure you keep project costs to a fixed shorter time than maybe a phased approach, but even then when you look to implement in one go you are likely to have an initial longer project timeline than what you would from the first few phases of a different approach.  If you are also under pressure to implement a solution that is targeted on solving a specific business problem, for example if your business must urgently remove a provider, or an internal team is disbanded and external service support is needed to enable business continuity, then the big bang approach is the potential viable solution.

It has its merits, but there are critical elements that need extra attention and require to be done correctly:

  • Planning and Preparation: Thoroughly assess your business’s readiness for the program’s implementation. Make sure your stakeholders are aligned and have a clear understanding of the program’s goals and objectives, and what a big bang approach entail.
  • Gathering requirements: You need to really ensure that when your requirements are signed off, there has been extensive review across critical factors.
  • Robust Testing: There is less room for error so conduct a higher degree of extensive testing as it helps identify and address any potential issues or bugs that may arise during the rollout.
  • User Training and after care: More training means more effort pre and post go-live, having the right approach to deal with your full business at the same time as to be a priority to ensure business continuity and successful adoption.
  • Change Management: This will be larger and more complex than other methods, especially if you are evolving multiple processes into one global approach.

I can tell you from experience that the project will not be easy, swift or a walk in the park, you are deploying a project over such a critical area of your business and transforming your approach to the talent you need to run your business. However, the sheer joy of being a part of a big bang deployment is never forgotten!

Phased Deployment:

My personal preference to be considered is a phased deployment, which involves implementing your extended workforce program in stages within a method that suits your needs.

Taking this approach allows for a more controlled and gradual rollout, reducing the risk of disruption to the whole business at one given time. The ways to phase and group your deployment will depend on the complexities of your business, but my experience has shown me that the below are solid groups to consider. Whichever way you are looking to phase I believe it’s important to look at the one that has the biggest impact whilst thinking about the longer-term rollout and health or your program.

  1. Grouping phases by geography/country: Group by geography/country can be advantageous because of:
  • Legal and Compliance Considerations: Each country will have their own requirements, some more complex than others. Local laws and regulations could mean that you are ready to implement some countries quicker than others, countries such as Germany, France and Italy are notoriously challenging. (read my article Expanding-your-extended-workforce to dig into this)
  • Cultural and Language Factors: Different countries will have unique cultural and language considerations. You can tailor the deployment approach to address these factors, ensuring better adoption and engagement.
  • Localized Support and Training: Allow for localized support and training can ensure that users in each country receive the necessary guidance and resources specific to their region, enhancing their understanding and utilization of the extended workforce program.

 

  1. Grouping Phases by Spend: Businesses find this approach beneficial because:
  • Prioritization of high spend categories: This can ensure that your program benefits are realised quickly in areas that have the most significant impact on the business’s finances.
  • Risk Mitigation: By addressing high-spend categories first, you can identify and resolve any potential issues or challenges before expanding the program to lower-spend categories that might not give you the user adoption you need.
  • Data Analysis and Insights: You can gather valuable data and metrics, and capture areas where extended workers are used the most, which can inform decision-making and drive improvements in other areas of the business.

 

  1. Grouping Phases by Invoices/Account Payable systems: Here’s why this can be an effective approach if you utilise multiple accounting methods:
  • Streamlined Accounts Payable Processes: This can ensure that invoices are processed efficiently, reducing delays, and improving cash flow management.
  • Vendor Relationship Management: You can establish stronger relationships with vendors as commonly a vendor tends to only interact with one system, it will ensuring smoother collaboration and more favourable terms.
  • Enhanced Control and Visibility: You know that all invoices will have transitioned that use a specific system/process, which keeps it clean and removes potential invoicing issues.

 

  1. Grouping phases by organisational structure/business unit: Advantages of utilising this approach can be:
  • Effective resource allocation: Can ensure that the right resources are allocated to the right departments or business types at the right time, which can help in optimizing productivity and avoiding any resource imbalances.
  • Targeted training and onboarding: This can allow for a more tailored approach, ensuring that specific business areas are equipped with the necessary information that is bespoke to them.
  • Engaging enthusiastic champions of your program: You might have a business area that will see more value than others who can act as a solid champion and business case for future success.

 

From my experiences these are the more common methods, but as mentioned before your business might find other ways that will be more effective. I have also seen businesses deploy by type of labour (Statement of work verse temporary worker), by time zone and by level of process and role complexity (call centre workers verses specialised niece skilled workers). I am sure we will continue to evolve ways of deploying as businesses continue to mature in their management of their extended workforce, but phasing does open more options that will provide the impact you need for your business.

How do you decide the most suitable approach?

Choosing the best approach should always be decided during the scoping phase. Ideally your initial thoughts brought together before the selection of your providers, but then fully aligned with providers and internal stakeholders before starting any requirements phase of a project. It seems obvious to do this, but when you are under pressure to get a solution live it can be overlooked as an activity that will come once requirements are gathered. I would strongly suggest you stay well away from this, however as you go through implementation phases should continue to evaluate if the approach you selected still works based on how requirements are going. For example, you may have agreed that a phased approach, by country, is the agreed method, but during the project you discover that getting worker and supplier data for specific countries is a challenge. This could be due to one specific business unit not being able to provide data on workers/suppliers in the countries they engage extended workforce. A decision might be made to continue with a phased approach but do this by business unit rather than country.

Once you have defined the needs, and the value you expect to deliver, this will give you solid ground to decide which way to deploy. For me, you need to analyse the value you expect to gain and rank by priority, complexity to implement and potential impact to business. My best successes have come from asking those stakeholders, and influential employees, engaged to individually run through this exercise then pull all results together to recommend the best approach.

At EW Scope, I utilise a standard deployment matrix that is then tailored to meet a business’s needs. It considers the above and provides recommendations to which options will give the most value. If you would like to discuss how EW Scope can help you then get in touch.

In conclusion, no standard option is the right option, you must analyse and decide what approach best fits your needs. My personal experiences tell me that a well-structured phased approach will work best if you are a large complex organisation that has the time, resources, and cost to do so. If you are under pressures to implement change quickly across your whole organisation then naturally the big bang would have to take priority. When it comes to less complex, small to mid-sized, business then the big bang is a more viable option.

Your best approach is to speak with EW Scope to help you define what will work for you and how you can get on the right path to success.

If you want to discuss How EW Scope can ensure you choose the right apporach, please get in touch. 

EW Scope is here to support the success of your extended workforce solutions.

We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. By clicking accept, you agree to the use of all cookies.

Get In Touch!

Please select suggested subject areas you wish to enquire about
How can I reach you?
What would you like to talk about?

SPECIAL OFFER!

Get To Know What Motivates You!

£30 off

Until 1st May 2024