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  • Writer's pictureMartin Hesse

How to keep your Workforce Management Software RFP on track

Crafting a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new workforce management system is a critical step in ensuring you select the right solution for your business. However, even the most well-intentioned RFPs can go off the rails, leading to delays, miscommunication, and ultimately, a less-than-ideal outcome. Whether you are a seasoned pro or new to the RFP process, understanding the common pitfalls can save you time, money, and headaches. 


In this article, we will highlight four key things that can derail your workforce management system RFP. By being aware of these potential issues and knowing how to navigate around them, you can keep your project on track and secure the best system for your needs. Let’s dive in and ensure your RFP process runs smoothly from start to finish. 


 

1. Your WFM RFP process highlights the need to prioritise other system implementations. 

A best of breed workforce management system integrates with payroll systems, enterprise resourcing planning software, finance systems, and human capital management systems, amongst others. It is recommended that before commencing a workforce management system RFP that it is clear internally if any corresponding systems need to be reviewed, upgraded or replaced.  This allows the relevant teams within the organisation to prioritise which system is updated first and create a timeline for RFPs, configuration and implementation.  


It is possible that a workforce management system RFP process is well underway with relevant stakeholders engaging with vendors, only to find they need to pause or stop the process due to another system needing to be implemented first. This can slow down the momentum of the RFP and makes the process more difficult to resume once it is ok to do so. 


Furthermore, depending on which system is being updated first, a pause or interruption could render the work completed on the workforce management system RFP obsolete, which is a letdown for all involved.  


A common scenario is for the workforce management RFP to be delayed due to a required change in payroll system. Depending on the type of organisation, it is complexity and size, Rosterspace recommends (where possible) implementing the workforce management system first, as it generally requires a shorter implementation timeframe, derisks the future payroll project and will allow for parallel testing to be done on a payroll system known to the organisation.  


Conversely, if an HRIS platform implementation can often take priority since employee data is the cornerstone of many payroll, HR and operational systems and processes. 

In some cases, an organisation may be motivated to implement and go live with several new systems at the same time, often referred to as a “big bang” which we do not recommend due to the heightened opportunity for error. Where possible, the Rosterspace team strongly recommends avoiding this approach due to the heightened opportunity for error. 



2. Target go-live date is too soon! 

We often speak to larger businesses about their projected go-live dates, which can be driven by contract renewals, system sunsets or any number of internal and external factors. When milestones such as procurement, design, configuration, testing and training are considered, along with reasonable buffers for unforeseen circumstances, realistic timeframes can easily extend beyond initial targets. 


This can occur when decision makers have not implemented a workforce management system previously or have limited understanding of what is involved when assessing and implementing a workforce management system.  While the allotted project timeline sound long, there are factors to be considered: 


  • The business's culture regarding decision-making and signoffs. Will the decision be held back due to internal deliberations or cultural challenges? 

 

  • Ability for the vendor to commit to your timeline. This is particularly important if you are transitioning from a popular system that is being decommissioned and several organisation are having to be off that system by a given date. Things are compounded if the pool of suitable alternatives is limited across the market, leaving all users of the decommissioned system to vie for implementation timeframes with a select number of vendors.    Furthermore, WFM systems like Rosterspace that value delivering an accurate, compliant and automated system may have a more high touch implementation methodology that requires more time than first anticipated. This investment in time upfront leads to lower volumes of support requests and higher levels of autonomy for the customer in the long run. 

 

  • Will the new WFM system be rolled out in a single phase to all users, or will a phased approach tackle individual business units over a longer timeframe? 

 


3. Another department is trying to hijack your RFP requirements 

It is not always a walk in the park to get buy-in from senior leadership, budget and the all-important green-light to go ahead with a software related RFP, especially when it is related to workforce management, payroll or HR. 


The needs of a payroll team and the functionality required for a fully functioning workforce management system are specific and complex and involve many stakeholders. In the formation of a workforce management system RFP, you may have team members from adjacent departments involved who see this process as an opportunity to have some of their needs met.  These may not sit within the core requirements of the workforce management system. If not managed, the competing interests could lead to non-WFM requirements being added or an attempt to diminish the importance of key functionality. 


This becomes particularly apparent when all-in-one solutions (WFM/Payroll/HRIS) are thrown into the mix, exposing multiple departments to potential compromises in functionality and priority, 

 


4. Key personnel are one foot out the door 

You have been able to build the case internally for procuring a new workforce management system, you have started reaching out to vendors and even had initial meetings. You are about to progress through the RFP process when one of the key people in the project team resigns and moves on.  

 

Whilst unpredictable, the negative impact of project team turnover can be minimised with some simple safeguards: 

  • Clear internal documentation regarding system requirements, including mandatory, optional and nice-to-have functionality. 

  • Having the RFP and selection criteria documented prior to engaging vendors. 

  • Having at least two internal stakeholders attend each vendor meeting. 

  • All meeting notes uploaded into a common repository for information sharing. 

 


It is safe to say that going through an RFP is never a walk in the park, but being aware of common challenges can reduce unnecessary friction and helps your organisation in planning and execution. To understand the importance of having your core payroll team involved in your payroll-related RFPs, you can also check out this article here. 




Rosterspace is an Australian workforce management software made for advance award interpretation and complex rostering needs. To find out more head to www.rosterspace.com.au. 

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