Choosing the Right Technology Vendor
By implementing new technologies, businesses aim for more efficient operations. Nevertheless, ignoring some important nuances while choosing software and implementation partners can lead to the opposite result. We gathered a few aspects worth considering when looking for a suitable technology vendor that will help minimize possible risks.
Why It Is Important to Choose Technology Vendor Thoughtfully
When the IT Director is tasked with new product implementation or replacement of the old one it may seem that new software could be chosen by comparing solutions available on the market. However, any solution of a certain segment has a similar functionality: all CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems in one way or another allow to structure the information about the clients and client-related communication, and all ECM (Enterprise Content Management) platforms help to arrange work with the unstructured information: documents, plans, scans, emails, etc.
Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the important details, because the wrong solution can not only affect the future of the project but have a serious impact on the financial results of the company and the entire business's resilience. Here are some most common risks:
- Loss of time and money – the most common consequence of choosing the wrong product and implementation team. The risks will increase if the project is tied to the main business tasks and season cycles.
«Wrong choice of vendor will not just put your investment at risk. Let’s have as an example the retail industry, where the peak sales happen between October and December. Imagine that a retail company wants to launch software to help maximize profit during this period. The main task of the project is to impact the sales process. The retail company initiated the project, but it didn’t launch in September. As a result, they lost their investment into a failed project, lost profit, and demotivated the team, which is critical for the business.” – says Igor Ermachenkov, Partner, Head of Pega Practice and VP of Digital Transformation Services, Atomazing.
- Full-stop of the business process as a result of a failed project – during recovery and adjustments the clients and partners may start thinking about contract termination.
- Loss of the competitive edge and market share – this risk is less obvious but still very significant. While you spend time sorting things out with the vendor, your competitors relish the moment and try to lure away your clients and quietly conquer the market.
- Loss of flexibility – when you choose a business process automation platform you agree with the rules for “the game” for the next 5 years minimum. And if the solution is fine for the company at the moment but doesn’t have enough possibilities of the development it will be difficult for the company to readjust and adapt to shifts.
It is important to emphasize that there can be various reasons why the project has failed. Often there is a combination of mistakes that leads to the failure, both from the vendor’s and implementation partner’s side and from the client’s side as well. According to the role, the client must set specific goals, manage risks, and compromise on certain options. Nevertheless, the right product from a trusted vendor is the cornerstone, so our experts agreed on the following key selection criteria.
7 Key Vendor Selection Criteria
Vendor has similar implementation cases
If the product worked well for a similar company in the segment then it means not only that product functionality is fit for your business but that it has suitable capacity as well.
Software is easily customizable
Customizable software offers the tools to adapt it according to the company’s needs, to support and develop the solution with the help of an in-house team or technology partner without changing its source code. The availability of such tools depends on the architecture of the product. Ideally, there are several independent layers: the core, access to which is possessed only by the vendor; the customization layer with access for the integrator; and the low-code with which the client’s employees work.
Product customization options present a serious competitive advantage, however, it is strange when a vendor is ready to fully rebuild the product according to the client’s needs. In this case vendor turns into a custom software development studio and focuses on satisfying the client neglecting the product launch, and the risk of failure increases significantly.
Vendor has a professional partner network
The main goal of a software vendor is product development: increasing processing speed, resilience, security; UI/UX enhancement, etc. Usually, partners perform product implementation and support for the clients. If the vendor has no partner network or it is underdeveloped, it means that the client will have to take care of product support which leads to a growing IT team and distraction from the current tasks.
Some of the powerful advantages of the partner network are access to resources that may be needed for project development and good knowledge of specific business needs of the industry. If the vendor has no partners they can rely only on their own experience getting information from their sales channel during the pre-sale stage. A good partner network gives access to a bigger number of clients, which means more knowledge about system requirements that helps with the product development strategy.
Vendor has a product development roadmap
Product development strategy is one of the key factors. The strategy must reflect not just new features but technology aspects as well, such as interface improvement, performance enhancement, introduction of mobile version, etc. Such aspects may influence the client’s decision and make the software life cycle more predictable for the company.
Vendor provides complete documentation
When implementing out-of-the-box product the quality of supply documentation is crucial. If the product requires customization performed by the partner, it is worth paying attention to the documentation formats that they provide. The final solution must go with all necessary documents that help onboard new users and develop new features without affecting the system’s logic.
Vendor uses their own software
This is a powerful indicator that the vendor is confident of the quality of their products.
Vendor has training courses
The availability of training courses for the users is a sign of product maturity. Every world-known vendor has training and certification centers that offer sets of educational programs and tests.
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