Time and again industry surveys have revealed that a huge number of technology projects either are unable to fulfill their objectives or fall flat on their face and there are numerous reasons for such an outcome. The vast majority of the issues related to technology crop up while an initiative is in its critical and nascent stages. Read what decisions are critical for a true technological implementation in today’s blog: Tips for making better technology choices?
Both the vendor and the technology selection ought to be appropriate for one’s critical digital marketing initiatives and decision-making in the early stages. The implication isn’t that a wrong choice would necessarily lead to or result in projects hitting a dead end but achieving success would be an uphill battle. If the foundation of an enterprise is strong at the outset then that would put the enterprise in good stead fully committed to embracing any new and emerging technology.
What matters in the end, is selecting a cutting edge and state of the art technology and the steps to that end are
First and foremost a team ought to be in place rather than a single person or department making the decisions leading to a host of issues in the future. A hybrid team of business and technical experts is the way to go. While choosing a technology for the workplace or technology that is customer-centric, one ought to ensure that the team lead is none other than a business leader.
Oftentimes businesses are clueless as to how they would implement or utilize the newest technology or how the company would be benefited by ushering in the new technology. Project leaders are articulate about the goals of selecting a certain technology as a replacement but offer a vague explanation about how they might use the technology. Perhaps that’s true but the question from a business viewpoint is what is it that the business is trying to achieve?
Is making people responsible internally for sending messages to expedite processes for broadening one’s reach the goal? or is integrating omnichannel analytics for better engagement with one’s current base the objective? or is looking for a cost-effective solution, the goal? Depending on one’s goals accordingly, vendors would be available.
The trade-offs with every selection process would be difficult. Articulated business goals with clarity provide a touchstone throughout consistently so one would be able to make proper decisions in the process.
Most of the criteria for selecting technology is all balderdash but they don’t have to be. At the outset, the approach ought to be avoiding requirements checklists, rather narrating digital stories is the way to go. One could apply normal user-centered design (UCD) techniques with an emphasis on use cases, stories or top tasks – whatever the name. one ought to do it.
If that is the way to go, then vendors pursuing a competition including demos and prototypes and training; the experience itself becomes interactive with hands-on and actual as the one-of-a-kind stories of a company are told.
It’s crucial to get the properly shortlisted vendors. There are an awful lot of enterprises wasting time on evaluation of tools that aren’t suitable. While shortlisting vendors exploring the marketplace is essential to ascertain the shortlisting of vendors. Rather, potential solutions built fundamentally for the resolution of one’s use cases.
Enterprises are all too eager and anxious about preparing requests for proposals (RFP), and their eagerness and anxiousness are justifiable and reasonable. Creating an RFP can be an arduous task. The reaction of the selection team is excessive — requirements checklists are long and demands on bidders are vague.
This can be done differently though. RFPs ought to have the human touch in them in terms of being friendly and scalable and in general human. Buzzwords are not required and stories developed ought to be shared. Technical and architectural requirements ought to be included but when it comes to presenting it ought to focus on ‘how’ and not so much on ‘what’. Inviting an intelligent conversation would lead to obtaining better proposals.
Putting a lot of weight on responses in writing to RFPs is not required since interactive technology would have one look and feel on screen and quite another on paper. The trial phase is key as during that phase one can actually begin discriminating among offerings that compete with each other.
It’s a common mistake to let vendors display their wares in ways that aren’t structured. Competing bidders being a part of a demo process is a way of showing how their systems would work in different scenarios. Similarly, during the integration testing phase or if there are other technical requirements, the bidders ought to show samples of running projects with code, instead of showing diagrams or making assurances that are vague or lacking clarity. Incidentally, vendors ought to up the ante while the demo phase is underway.
Seeing is definitely good but doing is even better. Scheduling a competition among two finalists at least where one’s diverse team members can access and work on the competing systems. This requires humungous effort in all aspects — not the least because user training is required.
Its probably going to cost someone a modest sum, but, in return, it’s worth it. Testing a system with one’s own data would be indicative of whether or not the technology and the vendor are a perfect mix and match. More importantly, it educates firsthand about the alterations one may require internally to explore the newest system.
While this process is underway, one is likely to make “down-vote” decisions — essentially striking some vendors off the list or rejecting them. The legitimate ways of making decisions include voting, consensus, leadership fiat, and so on. While working with clients, reaching a consensus is the aim, however, that isn’t always possible.
Mathematical formulas are an approach to avoid, with team members scoring the competitor’s offerings by applying weight percentages to arrive at overall rankings. Approaches based on spreadsheet qualify or are eligible for scientific validation but, they do not represent the actual judgment of the team. The reality is that scores are a reflection of one’s ranking partly based on one’s intuition and partly based on one’s trend.
Rather, a no-nonsense approach is recommended wherein ensuring no-holds-barred wrap-up sessions would invite members to shortlist and validate their selections, followed by a consensus on the vendors to qualify to the subsequent round. On the bright side, with an adaptive and empirical approach, the fact that no two vendors are alike is noticeable.
The vast majority of customers don’t negotiate fees and terms until a vendor has been chosen which substantially weakens one’s bargaining power. Besides, one is hard pressed for time to use the tool one has chosen.
Rather, one ought to begin negotiating when responses to one’s RFP starts pouring in. One ought to be insistent on all-encompassing price proposals and draft up front agreements. One is not liable to pay any excess fees or hidden charges.
If service-level agreements are deemed to be weak then one has the right to decline acceptance of such an agreement and dispute any unacceptable terms. There ought to be clarity in terms of responding to one’s concerns and indeed a condition for qualifying to the demo round, and, in turn, qualifying to the final round and after that, through further negotiations, the winner is announced.
One’s mantra at every step of the way ought to be price an terms are an integral part of the decision-making process. Vendors claim to notoriety is driving a hard bargain but a buyer even though may not be as stubborn or rigid does have the prerogative to set the stage without worrying about hard feelings. Once the dust settles and the contract is signed on mutually agreeable terms and conditions then there is no looking back.
Confirmation that the right choice has indeed been made and the most effective way to understand how the new technology would affect the status quo launching a trial run in a production environment at the earliest. Although the intended purpose of the final selection is not creating a production instance, on the contrary, the trial is actually a prototype of what befits customers or one’s peers in the workplace.
Therefore one ought to opt for a good and simple trial representative of the value that the platform would exude. One might intend launching the trial run in a country or department, or even a case study. Whatever the case, the pilot ought to be set up so as to, learn lessons beforehand prior to progressing on to a wider set of rollouts.
The Bottom Line
Success in the digital ecosystem isn’t guaranteed by selecting better technology alone, but if the right tools are chosen then one’s team would succeed in effecting the other necessary alterations or modifications.
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