What’s important when considering a finance automation solution purchase?

The pandemic changed the way so many of us communicate, both with our team mates, and our customers, and our prospective customers too.

At Documation we value our customers and strive to ensure we always deliver at the highest level. Whether that is functionality, training, support, best practice advice or account reviews, it really matters to us. 

We recently put a survey out to our database of contacts to see what is important for them when considering an automation solution. The results are still coming in, but the findings so far have been insightful and will help shape our sales process, implementation delivery and development of our solutions, now and in to the future. Thank you, if you took the time to complete it (if not there is still time!)

The pandemic changed the way so many of us communicate, both with our team mates, and our customers, and our prospective customers too. Virtual meetings and working from home or public spaces have become the norm. But is it important to still have the face to face contact to meet the team behind the solution and get an understanding of how the solution looks, works and how it can help you in your organisation? 

The answer was a resounding YES! More than 50% said it was important or very important to meet in person. Whilst it was an equal split on whether a standard demo suffices at the beginning of the consideration process, 86% said that a live version of the software showing your processes and challenges solved by the automation solution was important further down the line. Some of the comments on this were

Seeing actual examples of a working solution allow us to see that solutions actually work. Far too often with SAAS providers, claims are made around solutions which when real life comes in to play, the solution doesn't quite fit.

Generic demos rarely cover everything. Whilst we should be trying to reduce the variation, inevitably there will be good reasons why differences are required. Without that understanding, it is hard to understand if a solution is flexible enough to meet ALL of our needs.

But even having had face to face workshops there are still hurdles to overcome. A few of the blockers mentioned were change management, adoption of a new system by the wider business, security, and integration with 3 rd party software and finance systems all being common threads. These are unique to each organisation and generally out of the provider’s hands but having a strong project team and a partnership mentality can mean solution providers can smooth the way. 

They can help advocates of change deliver the automation message to their team mates through workshops and ‘Meet the Supplier’ open days. Security blockers can be mitigated with certifications like ISO27001, full integration with 3rd party software can be enabled through APIs, (and where that is not possible, flat file import/exports and other methods can be used.) Some providers offer advice on change management and can run workshops to get the ‘resistors’ on board and Train the Trainer sessions mean the business can become self sufficient in educating the wider business to use the system.

We asked some questions around support. A decisive 90% said it was very important that the support was delivered by the software provider team. Following along the same thread 95% said it was important or very important that there is a single point of contact who knows you, your team and your pain points/processes.

Training preferences were varied and split almost equally between:

  • Digital training guides for self learning
  • Online live training sessions with Trainer
  • On site/In person workshops with Trainer

With many respondents preferring a mix of all three.

And lastly, functionality. This is a big subject and was only briefly touched on at headline level in then survey. We asked the respondents to rate from 0 – 10 the importance of 12 differing features/functions from Sustainability to Ai and Machine learning. The top 5 are listed below with the percentage numbers showing the amount of respondents who marked the feature with a 10, ( Most Important)

  • ISO certification 55%
  • Full integration with finance system 45%
  • Configurable fields/features to fit with your processes 45%
  • Reporting dashboard with standard/configurable reports 41%
  • Exception handing workflow with Ai/machine learning 32 %

This survey is ongoing and if you would like to add your input, we would be extremely grateful. It closes at the end of February and by submitting your answers, your details will be entered into a prize draw for an iPad! Your answers remain confidential and will be used to help shape our partnerships, product and team, now and into the future.


author image
Guest Author

Documation’s family of consultants, developers, account managers and support team are experts in the field of finance process automation.

You may also be interested in

Discover the 5 unusual routes guests on the CFO Playbook podcast took to becoming CFOs, and what their journeys can teach us about the skills required to excel at the top job.
Finance TransformationTechnologyFinance Leader
Discover why effective cash management is crucial for businesses, ensuring timely financial obligations are met and guiding companies to success through robust cash planning.