August 9, 2022 HCM System Support

Experience Matters: Use a Consultant to Achieve HCM System Implementation Success

Even seasoned human capital management professionals can underestimate how complex HCM system implementation will be, how many decisions need to be made that impact end-result satisfaction, and just how much time internal staff need to plow into the project for six to 18 months depending on the scope of the implementation. Our certified implementation consultants have guided hundreds of companies–of various sizes and industries–through this process. They are experts who professionally steer teams to implementation success and optimal utilization. This means that a highly experienced consultant such as Ellen Calabrese, a certified payroll professional and Ceridian consultant at Wise Consulting, effectively helps companies avoid pitfalls that would otherwise ruin their implementation projects. Ellen sat down with us to share her thoughts about how a knowledgeable consultant makes implementing an HCM system more efficient and successful.

Bridging the Gap

So you’ve decided to implement a new HCM system–great! Now comes the challenging and complex–but also exciting–job of implementing the software you’ve chosen. While it’s tempting to go at it alone or even to use the limited consulting that comes with many HCM system purchases, it really is critical to have a very experienced individual on your side who can help explain the intricacies of building out software to meet your business’s specific needs and goals.

“It can be very overwhelming and difficult,” Ellen says. “That’s where we come in and we can talk about it.” The planning phase of identifying what you want the new system to do for your organization is very important, and many implementation decisions hinge on that plan you map out.

Often, internal staff charged with implementing HCM systems have trained in minor elements of the software or viewed something during the sales process they are very interested in executing, but a breakdown frequently happens once it comes time to set up, test, launch and use the system. Whether it’s ensuring that the software delivers desired functionality, handling data transfer, system configuration, testing, payroll support, or planning change management and setting a realistic timeline for launch, a dedicated consultant fills the knowledge gap before, during, and after implementing your new HCM software. 

“We definitely bridge the gap between what you as the client know and [the HCM system]. We speak the language—plus, we’ve helped so many clients and we’ve seen what other clients have done.”

Talking the Language

Using a consultant has a positive trickle-down effect on the success of project management, all components of implementation, plus the actual end-user experience. Thanks to the subject matter expertise of consultants, clients end up in a better position to use their new system more efficiently and effectively because they gain experiential knowledge from the expert who is teaching and training them. As former client-side HR and payroll specialists, an experienced consultant like Ellen understands and can prepare internal teams for the ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ phenomenon that can hinder inexperienced implementation efforts.

“We talk the language of the employee who we’re dealing with,” says Ellen. “Whether it’s a payroll analyst or someone in benefits, we understand it because we’ve been in their shoes.”

Ellen recalls seeing this experience in action when a Wise Canada-certified payroll consultant was able to notice when a client was not accounting for deductions needed for Canadian pension payments. While pension systems are no longer as common in the United States, they are a big part of company budgets in Canada, and leaving out this deduction would have been a costly mistake if their Wise consultant had not helped them correct it. Not only does a mistake like that cost the company money, but it is also detrimental to employee morale and confidence in the organization.

“These are the benefits of having Wise Consulting help you. Whether it’s Ceridian Dayforce or the UKG Pro product, Canada or US, this is where we can be so helpful.” 

Getting It Right the First Time

Working with an expert who helps you define product expectations and goals to create a clear implementation plan is only the beginning. To successfully launch any new software, it is important to make sure the new system is configured and optimized to support the way your organization works. “Do you have 15 employees and 15 different health care plan offerings? Maybe we can talk about why that’s not necessary and how that can be better consolidated,” Ellen says. “Are there codes in your software setup that have nothing to do with your business? Consultants have the expertise to pick out extraneous codes to shape a streamlined, customized system.”

It’s also important to dedicate the right resources and activities to support change management. Whether it’s setting up training guiding the communication process, managing employee expectations, or providing post-go-live payroll support, a consultant can help navigate this change management process and provide clear timelines based on successfully configuring and optimizing your HCM software to align with defined business objectives and goals. Ultimately, this leads to the result everyone hopes for– a successful implementation and long-term satisfaction with the product!

Preparing You for the Future

The work doesn’t stop once you’ve set up and implemented your new HCM system. Whether it’s growth, downsizing, going through a merger, or beefing up benefits to improve employee retention, the needs of businesses evolve over time. Consultants can be brought back in to help assess what changes need to be made to the system to support that change. System capability can be expanded with the addition of specific modules that will support your long-term business success. Configuration changes can be made to avoid growing pains as your business evolves. A good consultant can help you review your system periodically to identify tweaks that will improve performance and keep your team happy with how the software is working.

More and more companies are recognizing the value that an HCM system consultant brings to implementation and system optimization. The reality is that businesses rely heavily on these robust HCM systems, and as time goes by they are being leveraged in new and exciting ways to assist strategic decision-making with data analytics and improved employee recruitment, onboarding, performance, and retention. Like any other critical system, it needs to be set up right and maintained properly to produce optimal results. An experienced consultant is a key component to creating and maintaining a thriving HCM system.

It all starts with a strong implementation effort. 

“We bring such an amazing wealth of knowledge, and we’ve seen so many ways to configure and that’s where we can offer true value in that you have the best implementation possible,” Ellen says. “We will take the time to sit down with your folks and talk to them about what’s going on and what needs to happen.” So much is gained when that connection is made because switching systems is never as simple as just moving the data and pressing the ‘go-live’ button.

Work with a Wise Consultant to Streamline Your Implementation Process

Eager to learn more about how Wise Consulting fits into your HCM system implementation journey? At Wise Consulting, we know there is a difference between just getting the job done and being truly happy with the software, and we pride ourselves on being the facilitators of success. Our consultants are ready to walk you through the planning process and advise you throughout your entire implementation project. We have a passion for helping organizations meet new system launch deadlines, stay within budget, and achieve optimal system set-up. Wise has you covered. Contact us today at 1-800-654-4550 or by email at


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