A Visible Executive Sponsor – Critical for a Successful EPM Project

A Visible Executive Sponsor – Critical for a Successful EPM Project

A lot of business books, blogs, articles, and whitepapers talk about 'visible executive sponsorship' and how important it is when making a big move like selecting EPM software.

Is it really that crucial? How can you get it? What role should the executive sponsor play during each phase of the project?

What a Visible Executive Sponsor Is

The more powerful your sponsor is within the organization, the more obstacles they can break through on the way to meeting your goal.

bigstock-Business-Woman-876649A visible executive sponsor is an executive within a company that takes on the role of proponent, advocate, and delegate for a specific project, in this case, selection and implementation of EPM software. The sponsor, as the name indicates, isn’t just a quiet partner. This person is vocal and active throughout the process, helping assure that senior and middle management is on board, that the necessary resources are channeled to the project, and that the team in charge of the project has the support they need to complete EPM implementation on time and within budget.

Why a Visible Executive Sponsor is Important

There are many reasons why a visible executive sponsor benefits the process of EPM software selection and implementation:

  • The sponsor can keep the selection team on track and aligned with the goals and mission of the company as a whole.
  • The sponsor can enlist the support of other leaders within the organization.
  • The sponsor can make sure the EPM selection and implementation team has the resources they need.
  • The sponsor can assure that all stakeholders within the organization are identified and mobilized to support the team’s efforts.
  • The sponsor continues to communicate and support the project over time, as enthusiasm and support tends to wane. This assures that the project retains durability.

How to Choose a Visible Executive Sponsor

How can you pick the right sponsor for your EPM selection and implementation team?

  • Choose an executive as high up the ladder as possible. You want someone with the power, authority, and influence to get things done that might otherwise meet with resistance.
  • Choose someone who is an effective communicator.
  • Choose someone who believes in the project. If they aren’t convinced to their core that the project is important, it will be easy for them to lose focus and enthusiasm over time.

How to Use Your Visible Executive Sponsor

The best way to use your ‘visible executive sponsor’ is, well, to make sure (s)he remains visible regarding the project, the needs, and the successes.

Once you have the right candidate, make the best use of him or her by providing a platform to get out the word and the information to make a compelling argument for EPM software. This includes:

  • Kick off your project with an event and get your sponsor to speak. Arm them with a great presentation full of lots of hard facts on the benefits of EPM, as well as attractive images and displays.
  • Have your executive contribute to the organization’s periodical newsletter. Include updates on the project, announcements, and pleas for support. If the executive is too busy, have someone on your team write the updates and get the sponsor to sign off on it.
  • Get your sponsor in front of employees and other executives to speak about the project as often as possible. Don’t miss opportunities like company-wide holiday parties, shareholder meetings, and board meetings, where the sponsor has a chance to update or make pleas for the team in front of the most valuable stakeholders.
  • Have the sponsor celebrate milestones and successes with your team. This helps keep motivation high and gives the sponsor ammunition to combat any resistance that (s)he or the team might be facing.

The selection and implementation process for EPM software isn’t an overnight deal. Although it’s a lot easier than implementing an ERP system – it takes some time, a bit of effort, and no small amount of commitment. The right visible executive sponsor can keep the project in motion when time, budget constraints, and other obstacles make it easy to give up. To learn more about choosing and rolling out a new EPM system, visit Planful and download the free whitepaper, ‘A Buyer’s Guide to Enterprise Performance Management Suites‘ today.

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