I interviewed someone this week who told me that their last job was at the US House of Representatives. It was a qualified applicant, but one thing really bothered me; he was an H1B (foreign visa worker). Putting aside all of the politics here, I’d like to focus on the company that the government contracted to do this. They’re looking to maximize their profit margin. I’m fine with that. What I dislike is that they want to maximize it by giving their client a bad experience. I spoke here about companies with dishonest practices. H1B's aren't necessarily inexperienced, but many are. I have run across too many who flat out lie about their experience. They certainly don't have the US Finance/Accounting experience.
Why does this bother me so much? 1. It gives the field a bad reputation. If a client is expecting someone experienced, they shouldn’t have people who are learning on the job. 2. It doesn’t help the software’s reputation. I make my living off of this.
Why should you care? Let’s say it’s your first time doing this. You’re moving off of spreadsheets. You want the best value. You will have a much more painful experience. The cost that looks cheaper now but will be more in the long (or even medium) run
Why is it difficult to get quality Hyperion people? Being good at it takes years of experience. The good people have a background in both IT and Finance.
It can be difficult to tell who the impostors are. IT consultants can have 10 page resumes and talk like they know what they are doing…until they can’t get the work done. Like a lot of other things in this world, you get what you pay for. If you don’t want to pay the going rate, you will end up spending more in the long run. By hiring cheaper hourly resources, you will end up spend more by paying in project time and opportunity cost. Many times we've come back to "fix" a cheap, crappy implementation. The client ended up paying twice because they were saving money the first time.
Travel is another factor. When I was on the finance side, I wanted my consultants on site. At least until I knew who they were. Then with regular check ins, I saw no need to go to the expense of having someone in a cubical to talk to once a week. With regular demos, you should know the progress that they are making. We spend a lot of time on the road and enjoy doing it. It’s interesting to meet new people and see new places. I liked feeling like a New Yorker and taking the subway to work. I learned to commuter train systems in Boston and DC as well. When I was in Sydney, I took the train to work past the opera house every day. But. I hate being onsite when it’s the middle of the project and no one from the client has time to talk to me. It’s 10 hours of travel time and I have no reason to be there.
Brass Tacks EPM prides itself on quality resources. It will save you money and give you a much better experience. We’re committed to getting things right the first time and doing the work the smart and honest way.
I see this at clients frequently. The big questions are about how to do the implementations and who to hire to do them.
The confusion over how to implement is similar to any new experience. Many clients say “just take this spreadsheet and make it a database.” It’s the most straightforward thing to do and someone has already spent the time developing the spreadsheet. There are a great many implementation teams that will do this exact thing. It’s fast and competitive with other software in terms of time and money.
The downside is that in many cases, you’re not getting the full value out of the system this way. It takes a better implementation (aka money), cooperation (aka time) with the implementer, and a desire for change. These are in short supply. In my experience it’s worth it to spend both. If you’re having enough pain in your business to spend the money on the system, spend the money to do it correctly. Don’t do it in halfway measures.
This doesn’t mean that it should take six months and cost far more than you expected. Find a Hyperion implementer who will educate you at the start and provide you with options.
I wonder if this is why people choose the software competitors? Any out of box software, either Hyperion or a competing product can convert a spreadsheet this way. But competitors don’t have the ability to customize as much as Hyperion. Will you adjust your business to do things the way the software is set up? Then do it out of the box. I’m hearing a lot of buyers remorse from companies that have been with the competitors for a while. Fast implementation, but they get stuck with it over time.
So how do you know the right way? Start by asking who do you trust. Find a good Hyperion implementer. I gave some tips on choosing the right person in this blog post.
Starting out on the right foot is less expensive than changes later. A solid foundation is something you can build on. I often hear from companies that need extensive changes, or just decide to go to the expense of implementing a totally new system rather than doing it right the first time.
If you don’t have the time or money to invest? Stay with your current system. Even if it is spreadsheets. This is an investment in your business. As my father says, and job worth doing is worth doing right.