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Lessons Learned from Onboarding Professional Service Firms to SaaS CV Resume & Case Study tools

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Over the last 10 years, CV Partner has onboarded nearly 400 customers. Unlike many others in the Software as a Service (SaaS) sector, CV Partner includes within its price, direct support to the customer to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible.

 CV Partner is a ISO27001 secure cloud-based tool for managing knowledge & experience within CV Resumes, Bios, Skills, Case Studies and Past Projects for bids, proposals and delivery. It’s the new digital way to manage, coordinate, search, format, and produce CV Resumes and Case Studies, at the touch of a button. CV Partner saves time and money, and our customers tell us it reduces the time taken to produce their CV Resumes and Case Study by 50%, when compared with the old manual way. This ultimately helps them to win more bids and deliver projects more efficiently.

Companies starting with CV Partner normally migrate from a legacy file base with word or pdf documents in a shared drive

  • A legacy or in-house CV system 
  • A HR system with skills and simple profiles
  • An ad hoc or manual processes

 Anna Pesic Sandor, CV Partner’s Lead Customer Success Manager said, ‘Onboarding new users to CV Partner is essentially a change management process which requires a clear plan and dedicated people to ensure success’. She went onto say, ‘Onboarding for CV Partner includes customising the tool, migrating existing data, developing initial templates, advising on integrations, ‘training the trainers' (Admin and Superusers) and helping identify and remove barriers along the journey.’

 This blog aims to provide CV Partner customers and others seeking to onboard people into a new SaaS tool, with the key lessons learned, based upon the many years of experience from our Customer Success Team.

 ‘We have helped support onboarding of small 10 person businesses to large enterprise businesses with 20,000+ employees’ said Anna. ‘But whatever the size of the business, our customer success team often sees a few key success factors, which if we get right, smooths the onboarding process and avoids challenging issues.’ Anna and other members of the CV Partner Team have provided some top tips below.

 1.     Top Level Ownership

 Erling Linde, CEO and Founder of CV Partner focused his top tip on the sales process, ‘We get to talk to a wide variety of people. CV Partner’s tool spans, Management, HR, Sales, Marketing and Operations. Depending upon the organisational structure of the professional service firm, discussions to agree and obtain internal approval to implement a tool like CV Partner can involve 1 (the CEO, CFO or CTO) or occasionally up to 20 people all wearing different hats.’

CV Partner aims to create long term relationships with its customers, so the sales process is important in understanding how the organisation works and who needs to approve what. The CFO might need to approve the budget. While the Sales Director might want  to approve that this is the right tool for their sales organisation. The CTO might need to approve the level of security and necessary integrations.

 Erling highlighted that from his experience, ‘This cross-organisational agreement is critical to success. Even for small organisations, it’s rare that only one person needs to agree to implement CV Partner. Instead we find that even if it is one person, that various stakeholders feed into the decision. For larger organisations implementation might need several approvals from different parts of the firm.’

 But getting those approvals and agreements is key to successful onboarding.  Why, because as each decision maker takes their decision, they are buying in and agreeing to support the onboarding. As Erling says, ‘It creates ownership and makes sure that everyone is in it together, wanting to make it a success’.

 Erling’s top tip is therefore to take enough time to try and ensure all decision makers and stakeholders are on board. Ultimately, they have the power to make things happen and smooth the process.

 2.     Governance and Project Management

 Pernille Christensen, one of CV Partner’s leading customer success managers outlined another important theme, ‘CV Partner’s onboarding process is often more efficient and smooth when the customer appoints a committed Project Manager (PM), who develops a clear and concise internal Project Plan.’

 The PM should have dedicated time to work with the onboarding, the internal implementation of CV Partner, and also where possible, go on to manage the maintenance of the system. This is key to ensure a successful onboarding with our CV Partner Customer Success team.

 A successful Project Manager should have the following attributes:

 A certain degree of internal decision-making authority, or they can easily access someone with internal decision-making authority without having to involve CV Partner every time a decision needs to be made

  • A certain percentage of time set off to work with the CV Partner onboarding (typically 1 day per week during the onboarding and implementation phase, and 1 day a month for further maintenance in the following years)
  • Knowledge and experience from implementing and introducing a new tool to a company. This also includes experience within change management and project management. We encourage new customers to create the internal project plan based on the one we share with them.
  • A certain degree of technical knowledge. The PM should be able to understand- and test CV Partner to make sure that it also will work for less technical employees in their company.
  • The ability to drive a project forward internally.

 The Project Manager will set up and lead the Kick off meeting. The aim of which is to get to know each other, collect the right people for the governance group, go through a standard onboarding plan, set up recurrent status updates and set up an admin training for the governance group.  They will also lead short status meetings regularly to ensure progress is on track, have Q&A sessions with the team and share best practices. They will help set up Admin/Super User training, the first step of which will be to go through CV Partner in detail for the governance group. They will help identify the existing data for import, considering the format in which they have their data in today and see if it’s possible to import the data into CV Partner with a good result. They will also start considering template creation to decide how they would want their exported CV Resumes and Case Studies to look like.

 Pernilles top tip is to ensure a dedicated, capable and committed Project Manager is appointed to lead both the Onboarding and where possible the maintenance of the tool.

 3.     Communication

 Steve Morgan, CV Partner’s Marketing Director, focused on a different key area; communication. He said, ‘The implementation of CV Partner within an organisation is a change that needs to be well communicated. Professional Service Firms are normally full of highly intelligent people who always ask ‘Why should I do this?’ and, ‘What’s the benefit to me and my team?’. If you don’t answer these questions, it’s difficult to get people onboard with this change. Therefore, it’s very important that potential users are made aware why this new tool is being introduced and what the key benefits are to both the organisation and its people.

 Steve, who was Group Development Director and Group Owner of the roll out of CV Partner within Sweco AB noted, ‘Having a communication plan with key messages helped Sweco’s Architects, Engineers and Consultants understand how important this tool was, not only for work winning, but also as a networking and knowledge tool across the business.’ He went on to say, ‘…that messaging from top managers on this plays a very important role too.’  

 Steve’s Top Tip for successful Onboarding is to ensure you have a clear communication plan to help people in the organisation understand, very clearly, the why and the what of the Onboarding.

 4.     Training

 Astrid Berg Stensrud, CV Partners Operations Director suggested that from her perspective training was also critical to achieve successful onboarding. Astrid said, ‘The training of key people, who will act as admin / super users and trainers is important, because they will essentially become the ambassadors of the tool. Their engagement with people across their organisation, helps to create credibility, trust, and commitment to the tool. They will also become the focal point for questions and suggestions about the tool.’  

 CV Partner essentially takes a ‘train the trainers’ approach. With support from CV Partner, the customer ultimately decides who internally should be superusers in their CV Partner account. Most often the admin / superusers consist of the customers Sales department working with bids/proposals and department managers/one responsible from each department internally in their company.

 Astrid’s top tip is therefore to ensure that the right people are trained as Admin/Superusers, who can become the ambassadors for the tool.

 An Example

 To help demonstrate these top tips above, while every onboarding is a little different, Anna provided the following example of a super smooth onboarding with one of our important customers:

 Who was the Customer? Construction company of approx. 1500 users

Who was in their Governance team? PM, one technical resource (integrations, SSO etc), two superusers wanting to follow the whole implementation process, one graphic designer (to work with the templates).

PM: The Project Manager works as a Senior Bid Manager in the company, has a sufficient technical understanding, has 20% time set off to work with CV Partner per week during the onboarding process, and has internal decision-making authority (anchored within the company management). Due to being a Senior Bid Manager, he has led numerous bid processes and is experienced with project management methodologies. He is however not that experienced with change management, but one of the superusers in the governance team is, so she joins all the meetings to make sure she provides valuable input on this aspect.

 What made the onboarding successful? The setup of an all-together experienced governance team, that covered all the aspects needed. A hands-on PM with a 20% allocation of time for the implementation made it a real priority for the company, resulting in a quick escalation of everything that needed to be handled by another party (e.g. data import from another system). The fact that the governance team set a date where they wanted to introduce CV Partner to their users made them - together with CV Partner - create a plan that would hit that date with a good margin if everything went as planned. We also added extra time buffers to each step to be absolutely sure. The recurrent status meetings between the governance team and CV Partner resulted in a great relationship, it speeded up the onboarding process as we all got concrete tasks for the next status meetings and it was a forum where CV Partner could answer questions and share best practices with this customer. The governance team also set up weekly 30 min internal meetings for them to discuss internal matters after the weekly status meeting with CV Partner. In these meetings they discussed internal matters regarding; what data do we actually need to import into CV Partner, which fields do we want to activate, what data do we want to export to the template, how do we want to govern the masterdata etc.

 The result of the onboarding process:

We used less time than expected. The onboarding was done within four months, and not six as originally planned for by the customer

The governance team and super-users had thoroughly tested all components of the system and created their own internal instructions and guidelines for how to use CV Partner.

The governance team had also planned ahead for how CV Partner should be maintained after the internal introduction of the system. This included how to onboard- and offboard employees in the system, how to make sure their employees updated their CV at a regular interval, how to work with the reference projects and how to govern the masterdata.

 As a summary for this example, Anna’s top tips for successful onboarding are:

 - Assign PM as close to the description above as possible. Allocate a certain percentage of time to this person

- Assign a governance team that complements each other’s skills and experience. A PM, a technical resource, a graphic designer, and 1-2 superusers.

- Learn and test the functionality of the tool!

- Make sure that you set aside some time internally to go through internal matters regarding CV Partner. A tip is to create a weekly 30 min meeting after the status meeting with CV Partner

- Make a decision on whether CV Partner should be adjusted/Incorporated into the way they work today or If It will change the way they work today.

- What do you want to achieve with CV Partner? Immediate change? Change over time?

If your interested in how CV Partner can help you to improve quality, share knowledge and save time to win more bids and proposals click the 'book a demo' to find out more.

Learn more by contacting CV Partner