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The “Super Six” Keys to TPRM Implementation Success

March 1st, 2022
Judson Davis, VP of Professional Services, Aravo Solutions

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Purchasing TPRM (third-party risk management) software tools to improve your program is merely the beginning of your journey. Your organization’s preparation and ongoing engagement (at all levels) in the TPRM software implementation are a couple of the strongest predictors of your ongoing success. Even the best software can “fail” if you haven’t aligned internally on what success is and haven’t committed the resources it takes to get there.

Based on my years of experience in delivering customer solutions, these are the “super six” key principles that customers with the most successful outcomes follow:

  • Detailed Initial Program Requirements:  Detailed requirements are pivotal for many reasons.  During the sales cycle, ensuring that the provider understands your requirements helps them tailor a program and cost estimate specific to your needs.  This allows the team to more accurately scope the project and present the most accurate timeline (and costs) possible, which helps mitigate many of the requests for additional budget that commonly occur when detailed requirements are absent. 

    Documenting and clearly communicating program requirements also helps to ensure that the completed project meets your expectations. Vague requirements leave room for both sides to make assumptions that create misalignment.

    Our professional services team has also found that having detailed requirements is a clear indicator that the client is ready to move forward with a project.  When these requirements are lacking, client teams will spend an inordinate amount of time getting to that proper level of detail needed, and the project will immediately start behind schedule. Delayed timelines at the outset can set the wrong tone for the rest of the TPRM implementation and cause project timeline and budget overruns.
  • Empowered Team Members:  Having a client team that is empowered to make decisions helps keep the project moving forward efficiently.  With the detailed requirements and clear objectives as a guide, the team needs the authority and agility to make day-to-day decisions.

    In the absence of having empowered client teams, projects can be stalled for days – or even weeks – while they are awaiting decisions. The further the timeline slips, the greater the chance of incurring additional unplanned costs. 
  • Continued Involvement from Senior Stakeholders:  There are many senior-level stakeholders that are involved in the initial sales cycle and vendor selection. This is understandable because a TPRM program is an important investment that can potentially involve multiple functional areas.  That being said, there are times where our team has seen executive involvement ebb – and at times disappear – after vendor selection. 

    The most successful, highest quality implemented programs have consistent senior stakeholder awareness and some level of continued involvement as the project proceeds.  This allows for proper input, support, and “steering” at a strategic level.  When senior stakeholders are too far removed from the project, they may fail to see the progress and beneficial outcomes that have been achieved, and their support may wane.
  • Internal Support Plan Following Implementation:  The project is now over and you have this amazing solution live. . . now what?  What is your go forward plan?  Will there be immediate future phases?  Will there be continuous improvements and enhancements made to this solution and, if so, who will be making those changes and are those individuals trained and capable of making those changes?

    The best projects start with the aspirational end in mind. Having a solid support model that fits your needs and solution complexity is imperative to an exemplary functioning product as well as reaching the desired end state.
  • Consistent Communication:  Like any good relationship, a successful project will find itself rooted in consistent and efficient communication.  Solid communication helps keep small issues small and provides a clear path for a project to move as efficiently and effectively as possible.  It also allows both sides to mitigate many issues that generally occur in a software project. 

    Building this relationship of trust and open communication requires commitment on both sides. In addition to ensuring that your team is communicating effectively, you should insist that your vendor implementation partner provides you with people who will thoughtfully listen to your feedback and demonstrate the same level of communication.
  • Effective Change Management Program to Accompany Software Rollout:  The software itself should not be the change agent, as it only does what it is programmed to do.  The client needs to effectively manage the change that will accompany a software implementation by publicizing the changes well ahead of time and working with affected parties to ensure all perceived or legitimate challenges are surfaced and mitigated as much as possible. 

    A well-coordinated change management program will alleviate many issues that occur after the solution goes live and allows affected constituents to feel heard.  This will help to gain buy-in for the organizational, process, and technology changes that will improve your program outcomes. 

Of course, the software delivery team you work with is critical as well. A vendor’s TPRM implementation team and methodology should be part of the evaluation process when you’re looking for TPRM software solutions. Select a vendor that demonstrates the experience, track record, and skills to support you in attaining the “super six.”

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