- Remember, the objective is world-class use of technology, not using world-class technology.
- A major bying criteria is the financial soundness of the vendor — what is the orphan system risk? You do not want to ask your CFO for a new system if the system you recommended no longer works right because the vendor went bankrupt or merged and support disappeared.
- Always check the client references. Ideally, you should also ask the users of the system who are not provided as references. Get the client list and make some phone calls to the Treasurers. Their secretaries will likely pass you on to the people running the system.
- When checking the software client references, be sure to ask questions about how long it took to implement and the major problems; the responsiveness and usefulness of tech support; the frequency of updates and how much they typically cost; and the vendor's responsiveness to changes requested by the users group. The last question is "Knowing what you know now, would you buy the system today?"
- FAS 133, IAS 39 or AcG-13 compliance should always be tested with imperfect hedges to see the P&L ineffectiveness. Ideally, test the same hedges on the same day on two different systems to see how different the answers are.
- Minimize the changes you ask your vendor to make to their system to meet your particular requirements. This saves money and time both now and, critically, later when implementing the inevitable upgrades. Are you really buying the right system?
- Negotiate. The marginal cost of a new client is small in comparison to the total sales price.
- The best implementations have the project manager assigned full-time to the job.
- One major reason for implementation delays is the work needed to change existing processes to match the system. Be prepared to make the necessary changes to existing manual processes to take full advantage of a new system.
- Another major reason for delays is trying to implement the system and maintain the same workload. The crisis du jour is always more pressing — and more interesting — than the hard work of implementing a system.
- Under US GAAP, the costs of in-house staff (salary and benefits) and consultants spent in implementation work are capitalizable. The budget money saved could be used to hire a temp to do some of the routine treasury processing, giving the real treasury staff more time to implement (and fewer excuses).
- Save implementation costs by having a Crystal Report expert (e.g., from elance.com) at $75-$100/hour write your customized reports versus the vendor's $200 - $300+/hour rates.
- Develop written procedures for repetitive transactions and producing the monthly and quarterly reports — what is obvious to you will not be so obvious to your backup or replacement.
- After the system has been used for a year, ask the vendor's consultants to review your procedures. You'll probably learn some new capabilities and simpler processes for some of your early workarounds.