Critical Roles (Job Functions) By Implementation Stage

Key Actions (for the Program Manager)

Here’s the bottom line Program Manager “to do’s” from this article.

  • Background: Understand the 3 Stages of a Typical CIMcloud Implementation Project
  • First: Understand the critical roles for Stage 1 (Getting Connected) and assign them immediately.
  • Soon: Understand the other key roles for Stage 2 (Implementation) and make sure your Project Manager has what they need to get those roles filled.
  • When Going Live: Understand the key roles for Stage 3 (Live Roll-out) and make sure you have an ongoing operations team (and associated operating procedures) to operate the platform and grow usage / adoption.
  • Long Term: Understand the key roles for long-term Program Management (which includes deciding on which future projects to do and when)

Overview

This article covers best practices on the critical roles (a.k.a. “job functions” or “hats”) that must be filled to have success on your CIMcloud implementation project.  These critical roles are organized by implementation stage below.

Most roles are really “hats” to be worn and can be done part-time. It is typical to see them filled with in-house employees or 3rd party contractors.

This article includes the following sections:

  • Make Sure They “GWC” The Role
  • People Can Wear Multiple Hats
  • The 5 Critical Roles for Stage 1 “Getting Connected”
  • Other Key Roles for Stage 2 “Implementation”
  • Other Key Roles for Stage 3 “Live Roll-out”
  • Other Key Roles for Your Overall Program (Future Projects)

Video Overview

Make Sure They “GWC” The Role

Each role needs to be filled with a person that GWCs (Gets it, Wants it, Capacity to do it) the role. If they don’t, you will have problems.

People Can Wear Multiple Hats

Before you panic looking at all of the roles in this article, understand that they are frequently combined.  The number of different people involved in implementation, live roll-out, and ongoing operations can vary significantly by the size and scope of the CIMcloud implementation and level of adoption / usage.  We have customers that get < 100 orders per month on the platform and others that have 1 million + products, get 10,000+ per month, etc.  Those levels of complexity and adoption warrant dramatically different commitments of employee resources.  Best practice is to start small and scale up as the business justifies.

These are “combo” roles that are frequently created to get a single person to wear multiple hats.

  • The CIM Ninja – It is not uncommon for 1 person to take all of these roles
    • Lead Implementer (project and ongoing solution work)
    • Product / Content / Data Manager (project and ongoing solution work)
    • Product Catalog / Info Architect (project work)
    • End-to-End QA Tester (project work)
    • Lead Operator (ongoing solution work)
  • The CIM Organizer – It is not uncommon for 1 person to take on these roles
    • Scrum Master (program level work)
    • Lead Project Manager (project work)
    • Lead Project Planner (project work)
  • The CIM Entrepreneur – It is not uncommon for 1 person to take on these roles
    • Program Architects | Help Shape Vision and Project Objectives (program level work)
    • User Training & Adoption (ongoing solution work)
    • Product Manager / Business Analyst (ongoing solution work)

Warning: We do see companies try to have 1 person wear all three of the combo roles above.  One or two of them typically suffer (very badly) when that is attempted.  It’s not impossible…. but it’s also not at all likely to succeed.  If you are playing the odds, don’t combine the combo roles.

The 5 Critical Roles for Stage 1 “Getting Connected”

These are the five (5) most critical roles (a.k.a. “job functions” or “hats”) that must be filled to get your implementation project off to a fast start.  These roles need to be filled to complete the first stage of your implementation (Getting Connected).

These are listed in chronological order (based on a typical project schedule) on when you will need them.  Regardless of the order, you should strive to fill all 5 roles within 1-2 weeks after you place your order with CIMcloud.

  • Program Manager
    • This person is accountable for delivering business results to the organization. They decide which projects to do and when to do them. They also make sure the project manager (on each project) is assigned, can do the job, has a clear set of goals, and has access to the people (implementers) and budget required to accomplish the goals.
    • Filled by 1 and only 1 person (2+ people sharing this role = no-one in this role).
    • Typical time commitment is medium at the front end of the project(s), then low to medium.
    • The single most critical role (but NOT the most time consuming) for all aspects of the Overall Program, Implementation Project(s), and Ongoing Solution Operations.
    • Click here for specific details on the Program Manager role (including the 6 key responsibilities).
  • IT / Network Admin Expert
    • This person will provide the CIMcloud deployment team the access and credentials they need to install the ERP Sync Tool.
    • Filled by 1 and only 1 person (they can get support from others if needed)
    • Typical time commitment is low.
    • Provides ad-hoc support for Implementation Project(s) and Ongoing Solution Operations.
    • This is typically a very low time commitment role.  It is listed as critical because this person needs to handle the #1 critical path blocking item for the CIMcloud deployment.
    • They should have domain knowledge on and administrative access to the servers and network (including firewall, etc) that run your ERP system.  They will be completing the ERP Sync Tool Install Checklist (which requires technical know-how and administrator access to servers and your ERP).  They will also be supporting the CIMcloud ERP Sync Specialist if they run into issues installing the sync tool.
    • This is typically 1) an in-house IT, Network Admin, and/or ERP specialist, 2) your ERP VAR / reseller if they also help with your network administration, or 3) a 3rd party company you use for network administration.
  • ERP / Financial Data (& Business Process) Expert
    • This person will provide the CIMcloud deployment team with business decisions on how data will be synced into and out of your ERP system.
    • Provides ad-hoc support for Implementation Project(s) and Ongoing Solution Operations.
    • Typically filled by 1 person, but may require multiple depending on the business process / data
    • Typical time commitment is low.
    • This is typically a low time commitment role.  It is listed as critical because this person needs to provide input (make decisions) that will impact the configuration settings the CIMcloud applies to the ERP Sync Tool installation.  This includes things like 1) default fields to set on Sales Orders being imported into the ERP, 2) filters to apply to customers, products, warehouses, etc that sync from the ERP to CIMcloud, 3) choices on how cash receipts are imported for online invoice payments, etc.
    • They should have deep domain knowledge on your business processed and the ERP data setup.
    • Sometimes this is an in-house person like the head of account / finance or a tech saavy customer service manager.  It also may be your ERP reseller / VAR (if they are a very frequently used trusted advisor with deep domain knowledge of your day-to-day setup and usage of your ERP).
  • Lead Project Manager
    • This person is responsible for delivering the project goal (scope) on time and on budget.
    • Fill by 1 and only 1 person (2+ people sharing this role = no-one in this role).
    • Typical time commitment is medium.
    • Critical for Implementation Project(s).
    • This includes: 1) having a clearly written project goal, 2) creating and managing a plan (tasks / work) to hit that goal, 3) lining up the resources they need to work the plan, 4) keeping the project running on time, 5) keeping the project on budget, 6) addressing any issues that come up, 7) managing changes, 8) routinely communicating with the Program Manager and other key stakeholders on the project status and risk.
  • Lead Implementer (& Lead Operator)
    • This person will become the in-house domain expert and the lead administrator of the CIMcloud platform and ERP sync.  They need to (learn &) know how everything is set up and works.
    • Fill by 1 and only 1 person (2+ people sharing this role = no-one in this role).
    • Typical time commitment is high.
    • Critical for Implementation Project(s) and Ongoing Solution Operations.
    • They need to have a combination of strong technical skills and deep business process knowledge.
    • They are typically the person involved in setting up and managing the Settings Workspace (as well as the Product and Content Workspaces).

Other Key Roles for Stage 2 “Implementation”

These additional roles (or “hats”) are also considered critical for the success of your implementation project.  They make up the core implementation team. They are typically filled by the Project Manager.

  • Lead Project Planner
    • This person needs to have a strong understanding of work involved in getting CIMcloud implemented (to hit the goals for the project) and they have to build a plan to hit that goal.  More details on the planning aspect of a project can be found here.  They should deliver a realistic task list and milestones (dates) to hit the project goal.
    • This needs to be 1 and only 1 person (they can and should consult others)
    • The time commitment is high at the very front end of the project, then low (if the plans or scope deviates in a material way and the change to the plan is too big for the Project Manager to handle.
  • Product Catalog / Info Architect
    • This person has to have a broad understanding of your entire product mix and the skills to determine the best strategy to organize / categorize / present your products in a customer-friendly way (for a good “user experience”).  They also consider the rest of your customer-facing content and how that fits with the overall design.
    • This is typically filled by 1 person that is tech savvy and knows your products and customers really well.
    • Time commitment is high on the front end of the project, then tapers off (once decisions are made and confirmed on how to organize the product catalog).
  • Product / Content / Data Manager(s)
    • This person (these people) handle things like web pages / content, product data (cleaning up product names, adding descriptions, etc) preparation and loading, product image prep and load, etc.
    • Can be filled by 1 or more people (typically taking on different areas of the content).
    • Typical time commitment is low to high (varies significantly by scope of features and starting point on data / content).
    • Part of Implementation Project(s) and Ongoing Solution Operations.
    • These people will spend time in the Product Workspace and Content Workspace.
    • They may also spend some time (working with with the Platform Manager) in the Settings Workspace.
  • End-to-End QA Tester
    • This person is going to test all major workflows in the CIMcloud application to make sure everything works properly for customers and reps (in CIMcloud) and your fulfillment / operations people (in the ERP system).  One example is testing the quote-to-cash workflow: creating quotes, placing orders, watching the orders import into your ERP, making sure the orders can be picked, packed, and shipped in the ERP system, and then the payment (i.e. from a credit card) makes it all the way to your bank account.
    • This is typically filled by 1 person that is tech savvy, detail oriented, and knows your ERP data.
    • Typical time commitment is low, then medium to high (right before and after go live).
    • Part of Implementation Project(s) and Ongoing Solution Operations.

Other Key Roles for Stage 3 “Live Roll-out”

The next 2 (adoption roles) will need to be filled as you get closer to the live rollout of your CIMcloud platform.  The people who take on these 2 adoption roles may not be the same people as those that implement the platform.

  • Lead Operator
    • This is the most critical role for ongoing operations.
    • This is basically the same role as the Lead Implementer (above) + End-to-End QA Tester (above), but it serves in an ongoing operations role here (once the platform is live).
    • Time commitment is high on initial live roll-out, then can move to low-high depending on frequency of upgrade projects and level of adoption / usage.
  • Customer Onboarding & Adoption
    • Part of Ongoing Solution Operations.
    • Typically 1 person, but can be filled by 1 or more people (if by more than 1 person, each should have a defined list of customers / customer segments they are accountable for).
    • This person is in charge of getting your customers to adopt / use the Customer Sites (public Ecommerce sites and/or B2B portals) within the CIMcloud platform.
    • This is typically a Marketing Manager, Sales Manager, or Customer Service Manager.
    • The usage is typically measured by things like traffic counts, product searches, quotes / orders placed, invoice payments made, qty of customers that log into the platform regularly (i.e. at least once per month or once per week), etc.
    • Getting customers to adopt the platform may include promoting / marketing the platform, holding training sessions  / webinars (or recording and sharing training videos), collecting feedback from customers, working with the Lead Operator / Platform Manager and Program Manager to incorporate feedback into future potential projects, etc.
  • Rep (Employee) Onboarding & Adoption
    • Part of Ongoing Solution Operations.
    • Typically 1 person, but can be filled by 1 or more people (if by more than 1 person, each should have a defined list of reps / employees they are accountable for).
    • This person is in charge of getting your reps / in-house employees to adopt / use the CRM Workspace (and the Customer Sites when impersonating your customers) within the CIMcloud platform.
    • This is typically a Sales Manager or Customer Service Manager.
    • The usage is typically measured by things like qty of login sessions, quotes / orders placed, invoice payments made, etc.
    • Getting reps / employees to adopt the platform may include promoting / marketing the platform, holding training sessions  / webinars (or recording and sharing training videos), collecting feedback from employees, working with the Lead Operator / Platform Manager and Program Manager to incorporate feedback into future potential projects, etc.
  • Product Manager / Business Analyst
    • This is the person that identifies opportunities to grow usage and adoption on the platform and helps solve them by 1) working with the program manager on potential new upgrade projects (to get more or modify existing features) to tailor your solution to your target customers / employees, and 2) working with the “adoption” roles above on promotion, onboarding, and training initiatives and/or incentives.
    • This is typically 1 person.
    • Typical time commitment is low (for new implementations) to medium-high (for large levels of adoption).

Other Key Roles for Your Overall Program (Future Projects)

You are likely to find, that once you get CIMcloud implemented and live and getting return on investment, you will have lots of ideas for additional projects to take on (to implement more of the CIMcloud features… and/or grow adoption and usage with your customers and employees).  These initiatives are handled in future projects.  The overall process of evaluating and deciding on which future projects to tackle (and when to tackle them) is called a “Program”.  These are the Key Roles involved in managing your long term CIM Program.

  • Program Manager
  • Program Architect / Planner
    • This is the person who shapes the overall vision and help plan and line up the potential project.  They are doing discovery to evaluate potential projects to weigh out the cost vs. risk vs. benefit.  They are helping to define the objectives / goals for each project and lining them up to maximize returns vs. cost.
    • They have to consider things like software (platform) costs, implementation (labor / effort) costs, employee and customer change pain and risks, strategic benefit to the business, etc.
    • This is most typically the same person that fills the Program Manager role (but does not have to be).
    • It is common to get some occasional outside consulting / help on this role.
    • The typical time commitment is low overall, but does move to a medium or high for occasional short periods of planning / road mapping (lining up the next potential project(s)).
  • Scrum Master
    • This is the person who organizes the discovery work involved in deciding which projects to do next.
    • They maintain a backlog (list) of open issues that need to be discussed + potential projects that could be considered (large and small)
    • They organize and run monthly or quarterly CIM Program meetings
      • These meetings would typically involve the Program Manager, Program Architect, Lead Operator, and Product Manager / Business Analyst.  You might also involve an outside Consultant/Expert (a Solution Architect) from a CIMcloud Implementation Partner to help you quickly determine feasibility / viability of ideas (they can answer “is this standard or custom?” / “how much work is this?”).

Role (Job Functions) Worksheet

This article contains the job functions worksheet.  It is a downloaded MS Excel spreadsheet template that you can use as a worksheet to assign roles (to both in-house employees and outsourced implementation partners). We recommend that the Project Manager completes and distributes this worksheet during their onboarding.

Need Help Filling Roles?

If you need outside help filling any of the critical roles listed above (or any of the extended list of roles listed in the full PPPS Job Functions Worksheet), we can help.  CIMcloud has a sister division, our Professional Services group, that offers hourly services for most types of work related to CIMcloud implementations.  Click here for contact information and ways you can get help on projects.

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