You are well aware that pricing is one of your key levers to increased sales and margins. That’s why you’re investing in pricing software. You have a good idea of the scope of the software project, the processes you want to improve, the problems you are trying to solve, and the goals you want to achieve. You may even have chosen a pricing management software vendor and are getting ready to implement it.
So now what?
How involved will your company be during the implementation phase of your new software? Where do the IT responsibilities for the project lie? What in-house IT resources should you have ready? How much of their time will be required?
At Pricefx, we’ve helped dozens of customers get their pricing software projects up and running on time and on budget, and we know a thing or two about what it takes to prepare for a smooth, timely and successful implementation.
Let’s look at why you do need to consider IT resources on your end and which IT roles and responsibilities you should be considering.
Why It Is Important To Have In-House IT Responsibilities
If you’ve purchased an out-of-the-box pricing solution and have no intention of customizing it, you may be wondering why you should need your own IT resources. Well, implementing new software is going to require some technical knowledge on your side.
It’s true that with a cloud-native pricing solution, IT is mostly on the vendor’s side. They innovate the product and give you access to its functionality. But to get you both started, the vendor is going to need help in bridging the integration gaps between your existing software and theirs so that the essential data can flow back and forth.
You might want to amend how you receive data from your pricing solution.
This will require some customization on SAP or your ERP, which will require IT resources on your end.
Another huge benefit in taking on some of the IT responsibilities is that your in-house team know more about your organization than any vendor will. Not only do they understand your technology but will have a good idea of where your new pricing solution needs to come in and talk to it.
At Pricefx, we welcome IT teams into our discussions right from the very beginning. This helps train them on our system and get them clued up for what’s coming. Being able to merge these knowledge pieces is invaluable. A better-prepared team increases the likelihood of a smooth-running project.
The 3 Key IT Roles AndTheir Responsibilities
In order to guarantee project success from an IT organizational point of view, you’ll want to have certain players on board and engaged right from the start. including;
1. IT Project Manager
Your IT Project Manager is responsible for the overall coordination of the project, making sure all activities, tasks and people are prepared, aligned, and synchronized. They ensure each person is aware of their roles and responsibilities and that tasks are executed in a timely and coordinated manner.
As implementation of a new system will require integration with existing systems, it would be ideal if they were a seasoned IT professional, already familiar with implementations at this level.
They will work closely with the end users—those that the new solution is being designed to help (pricing and sales teams)—to ensure that it is aligned with their tasks and solves their problems. This element is critical to adoption and to reaping the benefits from your investment.
Your IT Project Manager must fully understand the stories (desired functionality) that need to be implemented and which people should be pulled in and out of the process to make it happen. They must also be able to translate those needs to your solution engineer.
As this is the person manages the time, budget and scope elements of your project, they are key to its success.
2. IT Lead
Your IT Project Manager will also work closely with your IT Lead, who might have similar knowledge and skills, but will be more hands-on with the integration. They will be responsible for communicating how relevant applications will work together to keep multiple work streams on track.
Your IT Lead should understand your company’s system landscape inside out and should have an idea of how data from your new solution will be sent to your various applications (ERP, SAP, Oracle, etc.).
3. Solution Engineer
Your Solution Engineer will find solutions for any gaps you find during implementation.
If you choose not to customize an out-of-the-box pricing solution, they will be responsible for gaps in integration between your existing systems and your new pricing software.
If, however, you decide you need special cases or want to adjust how you receive data in your systems, they’re the one who’ll write the code to meet your requirements.
Most of what your Solution Engineer will be doing is exporting data from your systems ready to be imported into the new solution. Of the 3 data types you’ll need, while customer and product data is straightforward (using a standard API out of the box), transaction data is often more complex.
For a simpler project, with limited integrations, one Solution Engineer may be sufficient, especially if you’re using a cloud solution. But it really depends on how big the project is, the complexity of pricing data, how many systems will be receiving the data, how much of a gap there is, and what your timeline looks like, etc.
You’ll also need to consider how many programming languages your various solutions cover and how your Solution Engineer’s skills compare. You might need to bring in people who specialize in the different solutions (e.g. SAP or Salesforce), areas of expertise (e.g. pricing) or programming languages—not necessarily full time, but dropping in and out when required.
How These IT Roles Work Together
Your software project IT team will usually follow an agile development process.
The Project Manager breaks the project down into smaller chunks, called “stories”, working out what and who will be required for each. They then define “sprints; short iterative development cycles.
Within each sprint, a Product Manager(can be played by any role in the business)breaks the stories down further into tasks and hours to give the IT Lead and Solution Engineers a clear path to accomplishment. The team will maintain close contact with the pricing software vendor as well as any other relevant system’s vendors for support during this time.
Daily “scrum” meetings encourage open communication between stakeholders and a close and collaborative eye is kept on all tasks, with the “product backlog” constantly evolving and re-prioritized based on feedback and changing business needs.
At the end of the sprint, the Product Manager accepts the completed user stories and decides if they’ll go to user testing and/or on to production.
How Much Time Will IT Roles Spend On Implementation?
It’s very important that your project manager and vendor are realistic about the time your project is going to take. This helps you assign IT responsibilities and to work around actual availability to avoid any delays or bottlenecks.
How much time will be required from your various IT roles depends on the points previously mentioned, but in order to ensure a smooth-sailing implementation, they should each be ready to spend between three and eight hours a day on the project. More peripheral stakeholders (like subject matter experts and end users) can be called on as and when their expertise is required.
Making Your Pricing Transformation A Success
Many companies underestimate the IT requirement on their end once they have chosen a pricing solution. To avoid delays and friction during this crucial phase of your pricing digital transformation, it is essential you know what to expect and to come prepared.
At Pricefx, we understand why in-house IT resources are beneficial to the process, what the various IT roles and responsibilities are and how they will be engaged in your pricing software project implementation to stand you in good stead as you embark on this important implementation journey.
For those looking to learn more about the wider breadth of internal stakeholders involved in a pricing software implementation project, then check out the article link below;