3 Keys for a Successful OneStream Roll-out

by | Sep 18, 2020 | Finit, OneStream

Implementing a new OneStream application is a major undertaking for any organization. Not only is there a large financial investment, you are also asking some of your highest performers to add more to their already full workload. Everyone involved with the project will do their best to get the design right, work with your implementation partner during build, and diligently test prior to go-live.

As we see on all of our clients’ projects, there is a core group of stakeholders and team members that have a high sense of ownership. They bring a lot of energy and excitement to the project, but how do you share that energy with the rest of the company?  Your OneStream application can have over 1,000 users around the globe, and a successful roll-out will require everyone to be as excited as your core team.

In the following paragraphs I am going to lay out 3 keys to create that excitement.

1. Build Anticipation

Assess your company’s landscape:

  • Have others in your organization heard of OneStream?
  • Do they know what it does?
  • Do they know why they should be excited?

If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you need to think about how you’re informing people about this project. If your company or accounting organization has an internal newsletter, find out how you can be a part of it to let everyone know the good news.

As an example, the community center where I live is currently building new basketball courts. I get a monthly e-mail about the construction. It’s great to see the progress and what it means for all the kids that play basketball. Doing the same thing, an internal communications campaign, at your company in regard to your OneStream initiative will help build excitement and buy-in beyond the key stakeholders. If your company does not have an internal newsletter, other internal platforms such as your intranet, staff forum such as Slack, or monthly staff meetings would all work equally well.

“A sample post might read: “In July the OneStream development team completed the build of our Budget vs. Actual reporting which will give users the consistent variance analysis by Day 2 of close. Be on the look-out for more great features in the coming months!”

When writing these updates, I have found two tactics to be particularly effective. The first is “Construction in Progress”. Let everyone know what has been done since the last update and what it means. If there are key reports or functionality, highlight those and celebrate the success. The second is “Don’t Overpromise”. The last thing you want to do is set unrealistic timelines to talk about un-built functionality – because if you are not able to deliver on exactly what you promised, the first experience for a lot of users may be negative and could hamper others’ enthusiasm.

2. Make it relatable

Most people do not like change! Whether it is related to work or personal endeavors, everyone has a routine and a way of doing things. We tend to bristle when a routine is disrupted.

One way to overcome this during your OneStream roll-out is to highlight what is staying the same and what is getting better. Think about what your company does well and what you want to keep doing. Once identified, go out of your way to assure the team that this will not be lost in the move to OneStream. For example, if there are deadlines for activities during your current close process, talk about how those dates will remain intact.

Once you’ve provided comfort that the accounting function will not drastically change for the worse and day-to-day life will be similar, you can start to talk about how it will get better. Examples of what you can point out include the following.

For reports that are manually created:

  • Talk about how they will be pre-built.
  • Highlight how these pre-build reports will allow for a more consistent version of the data, or “one version of the truth.”
  • Communicate that there is no longer a need to record certain elimination entries or FX adjustments.

If you let the users know that you heard them when they communicated their pain points and have a plan to address them, but won’t abandon what works, this will go a long way to helping people approach the new OneStream Platform with an open mind. And with an open mind they will start to get excited about ways OneStream can help make their lives easier.

3. Make training fun

Getting users appropriately trained to use OneStream is the critical last step in driving adoption. When planning for training here are a few tips to make it a success.

First, make sure to clear trainees’ schedules as much as possible. Before go-live, any training on OneStream is likely additional to your staff’s normal responsibilities. Being proactive to clear their schedules is key. The more the team can be focused on training and less on distractions, the more users will retain the information during training. This will have a positive impact on adoption.

Stress the value of the new tool and the benefits of users understanding it. Remember key #2: Talk about what currently works, and what is staying. Also point out how OneStream will make everyone’s work activities better and their time more productive. No one wants to do more than they are currently asked to do, so try to find opportunities in your training to highlight efficiencies and improvements.

People are being asked to take time out of their schedules for training. It is a good idea to find a meaningful way to say, “Thank you.” In the past when I have delivered training, all the trainees would travel to a central location for a week of training. During that time, we would schedule at least one celebratory dinner both as a sign of thanks as well as an opportunity to spend time together. Even though face-to-face activities are currently on hold, you can still look for ways to acknowledge and celebrate this event.

Prior to training send the trainees a small gift as a positive gesture. It could be as simple as a snack item for extra energy during training, or a branded item from either OneStream or your implementation partner to increase awareness as they prepare for training. Together, these steps help ensure a successful and fun training experience.

“How do you eat an elephant?”

During a project I am often reminded of the proverb, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I view the 3 Keys the same way. There are many aspects of a project we can investigate and provide best practices. These are just a few that have worked for me and are often overlooked.

For more ideas about running a successful OneStream implementation, please contact us at insights@finit.com.

P.J. Gill is part of the OneStream team at Finit with 20+ years of experience in Accounting and CPM/EPM solution delivery.

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