A subject matter expert (SME) is a highly knowledgeable individual who performs specialized functions in given organizational processes…. Modern management practices rely heavily on the services of SMEs in research and development processes as well as in routine organizational operations to achieve greater productivity and efficiency.
Who should be on the project team?
At the commencement of a project we put together a project team; bringing together those who have subject matter expertise. It is their specialise knowledge that is needed to deliver a successful project. The question we are often asked is ‘Who should be on the team?’
For a Spend Management project, our recommendation is to consider the roles first and then from this you can identify the named individuals.
- Senior Procurement: that person who understands the current policies and procedures for purchasing, has the authority to take decisions on future policies, and identify the levels of analysis that need to take place.
- Senior Finance: this individual represents the interests of the finance function. For a spend management project, invoices and credit notes will need to be processed, payments made to suppliers and queries answered by accounts payable from suppliers. The Senior Finance role will confirm how the spend management system fits in the context of the financial processes of the organisation.
- Senior IT: the Spend Management solution will need an IT Infrastructure, whether that is in-house or hosted on a server ‘in the cloud’. Whatever the approach, there has to be ownership in the project of the infrastructure and the policies for deploying new application solutions
- Systems Administrator: This is the role that moves into day to day operation of the system. The Systems Administrator is responsible for activities such as new user creation, setup of purchase order templates, maintenance of item lists and so forth. It is ideal if they can be involved in the project from the start to understand how the system needs to be configured.
- Senior Users: The system that is designed and configured needs to be usable. There is no point in creating levels of granularity that are too detailed, multiple purchase order templates that are unclear which to use, or hierarchies of approval which are unworkable. The role of the Senior Users is to confirm that the final configuration of the system is one that can be used.
- Project Manager: Who will have the day to day responsibility for delivery of the project. This individual is responsible for the planning, the motivating, controlling, and resourcing of the project. Ideally they will understand the business and have good relationships with those who the system affects.
- The final role is that of Project Executive, sometimes known as Project Sponsor. This person has ultimate responsibility for the success of the project. They will be a senior member of the business, possibly c-suite, and have the authority to take business decisions as required.
We need a project team made up of subject matter experts in their respective fields.They will understand the culture, know the individuals, the areas where there are inefficiencies that need to be addressed, and how to successfully deliver new working practices and processes. For they are key to improving operational effectiveness and raising productivity.