Executive Sponsorship: It’s the Difference Between Success and Failure

It is difficult to overstate the significance of executive sponsorship in the implementation of fund administration software. Without the right people backing the decision and driving the process in the right direction, even the best-fitting software system can fall flat and wind up as a useless, forgotten tool in a year.

So, to make your software investment pay off, you’ve got to secure ongoing and engaged executive sponsorship.

Executive Sponsorship Is More Than Just Executive Input

Typically, during the sales process, we deal with a small group of decision-makers. In most cases, that group is made up of the CEO, managing partner, and potentially others at the executive level.

Naturally, these people do extensive research into which tool is the best fit for their business and they thoroughly vet each company they’re considering. However, after they make a purchase decision, they tend to toss the responsibility to lower-level employees with a “Here, implement this,” type of directive.

In other words, they provide executive input on the purchase decision but no executive sponsorship for the software implementation and user adoption phases.

A couple of things usually happen at this point. First, the employees who have taken over the project end up guessing at what information should be tracked and how the system should be configured because those issues are outside the scope of their normal work. Then, when the executives who made the purchase decision see the system for the first time, they’re disappointed to discover that it only meets, say, 75% of the needs they hoped it would.

In response, they go back into executive input mode and suggest that additional fields be added. But this still doesn’t qualify as executive sponsorship. And it creates more work for the group performing the implementation.

Executive Sponsorship Can Prevent Time-Consuming Restarts

When executives re-engage with a software implementation project and ask for modifications to be made, this can be frustrating for the implementation team. They’ve typically spent hours importing data into the new system utilizing the fields they had initially defined. When they’re tasked with adding fields retroactively, they must export the data, modify it, and import it a second time. Needless to say, this can be a time-consuming task.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Why don’t they just add the new fields but leave them empty until a later time?” The reason that’s not ideal is that before a firm trains its people on how to use a new system, the software must be set up properly and completely. Otherwise, you end up doing additional training later, which wastes valuable time and can be confusing to users who were already getting familiar with the software as it was originally implemented.

That approach can also hinder the adoption of the new system. Launching without all the appropriate fields and data in place makes it difficult for users to see the software’s potential and more likely that they’ll ignore the system and keep doing things the way they always have.

Who Should Be Your Executive Sponsor?

So, who should be the executive sponsor for your fund management software implementation? We recommend having a senior-level champion to guide the process and lend support.

But a well-executed implementation requires other support, as well. You should also involve a mid-level employee who does more of the implementation “dirty work” but is still senior enough to understand how your organization operates and the business processes you use. This person must know what data should be tracked and have enough authority within the organization to effectively engage senior executives for feedback, while also providing encouragement and direction to system users.

In short, an effective software implementation requires strong leadership, with an executive sponsor to spearhead the initiative and a “second in command” on the implementation team to coordinate the process.

If that seems like a significant amount of time and resources to invest in this type of project, it is. But it pales in comparison to the time you’ll spend making post-implementation corrections if you don’t have the right guidance for your project.

And… The efficiency and productivity gains your firm will enjoy with an advanced fund management solution from Altvia will make your executive sponsor (and everyone in the firm) glad they invested the time to get things right in the first place!