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In the context of global mobility, implementation – sometimes referred to as transitioning – is the process of onboarding a client. It involves getting to know the client – developing an understanding of the way in which they like to work and to communicate. In other words, at the heart of the process is a requirement to build a strong and trusting business relationship. Then, with this relationship in place, you can turn your attention to the following five areas, all of which are essential for a successful implementation: 

  • People 
  • Resources
  • Structure
  • Systems
  • Culture 


Manpower and expertise are both equally important. Do you have enough people to do the job properly, and do those people have both the skills and the experience necessary to carry out a successful implementation? Even the simplest implementation has multiple layers, levels and nuances, and navigating these requires a very high level of organisation and attention to detail. Not everyone, however high level they are, will have these skills. 


Aside from people, there are two resources that are critical to a successful implementation: budget and time. Given the multifaceted nature of even the simplest implementation, forecasting costs is extremely difficult. But whilst you cannot definitively map out each and every cost, you can predict the points at which additional costs are likely to be incurred and include a contingency within the budget to manage these. Managing time is equally difficult. Give yourself too little time, and you will inevitably have to sacrifice attention to detail. Give yourself too much time, and you are likely to exceed budget. K2 have found that the most effective way to manage time is to leverage the experience of your people – how long have similar implementations taken and how do you find that ideal balance between budget and timeframe? 


Equally critical to a successful implementation is a clear division of responsibilities and a clear chain of command. Each member of the implementation team needs to know exactly what they are responsible for and exactly who they should request authorisation from. Of course, communication is the glue that holds both of these elements together. Any implementation involves multiple moving parts, and in order for all of these parts to synchronise, clear and timely communication is essential. 


However expert your implementation team is, however well you manage your budget and your time, and however committed you are to good communication, your implementation will not be successful if you do not have the systems in place to support the processes involved. Have you set your team up with the technology that they need to perform to the best of their ability, and have you centralised communications to ensure that nothing gets missed and that work isn’t duplicated? 


Whilst this is the least tangible of all the five pillars, it is arguably the most important. Culture is what connects People, Resources, Structure and Systems, ensuring that they work in tandem. For example, a supportive and inclusive culture in which everyone has a voice will make your people feel comfortable challenging budget and timeframe, should their experience suggest that both are too tight for a successful implementation. It will also encourage people to embrace accountability, as they know that they will be supported rather than blamed in the event of something going wrong: accountability is an essential component of a structure defined by a clear division of responsibilities and a clear chain of command. 

To conclude, a successful implementation starts and finishes with a company’s culture, which should encourage individuals to share their ideas, experiences and concerns in order to improve operational processes. Between the start and finish points sit People, Resources, Structure and Systems, all of which require investment and management to enable them to work in tandem and thus facilitate a successful implementation. 

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