Selecting a Solution Provider: An IT Perspective

There’s no question that choosing a solution partner is challenging. Most organizations establish stringent guidelines with the goal of ensuring they have the right solutions – and the right partner – for their projects. Choosing the right solution partner can often mean the difference between a project’s success or failure.

There are myriad risk factors in play: demanding business requirements, the number of solution providers, a complex IT landscape — for example, mobile support, cloud vs. on-premise – implementation methodologies such as waterfall or agile, and even team personalities and dynamics.

This critical decision often comes down to “gut-feeling”; there is simply not enough time during the sales process to thoroughly understand and explore the business requirements, the workshop and design solutions, and construct the prototypes. Business users may also not fully understand the requirements or complexities of existing systems. Vendors also face challenges as they match the capabilities of their products with customer requirements.

PROS understands the complexities and the challenges of making these selections. We have completed more than 1,000 implementations and helped customers maneuver the path to success. It’s why we’ve won awards from customers for our work and why we consistently earn their trust.

Here are some things to do before holding those discovery sessions.

  • Know thyself. Understand how your organization approaches projects and who the key personnel are to drive its success.
  • Define the scope. Can the core team clearly articulate the vision or end-state? Does the organization understand the tangible business benefits?
  • Demonstrate commitment. Strong, top-down leadership is required for any project to succeed. Who has the drive, bandwidth, and authority to take it on?

Once you’ve identified your IT trusted advisors and articulated the scope, you’re ready to build a team committed to the project and to begin the pre-sales meetings. Here are a few things to remember:

  • The devil is in the details. Understand technical challenges will appear during any transformative project. Be ready to adapt.
  • Over communicate. Your stakeholders and the vendor must agree upon the scope before signing a contract. Build those relationships early.
  • Talk with your users. Identify all users affected by the initiative and get them involved in the process.
  • Set realistic deadlines. Unreachable dates erode confidence. Be honest about your struggles to understand how to mitigate them.

Selecting the right partner is the best path to the success of your project. By following this outline, and trusting your best “gut-feeling,” you will choose the right partner for your new initiative.

Take a look at my eBook, which can help guide your considerations. And leave me a note if you have comments. We’re always interested in new thoughts and ideas.

About the Author

James Bennett

James Bennett works on PROS Strategic Consulting team as a pre-sales solutions architect, where he develops and delivers creative solutions to meet customers’ challenging business requirements.

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