If you've ever been involved in an enterprise technology replacement or new implementation project, you know there are many ways things can go wrong.
But there's nothing worse than seeing a project doomed to fail before the implementation even begins.
Every year, RSG helps scores of enterprise teams select new technology. Regardless of the industry or sector, we've seen many common mistakes that cause technology projects to go off the rails before they even start. Here's a list of the top five mistakes that we've seen selection teams make during the procurement phase..
Watch this 30 minute recorded briefing to learn about the common mistakes that enterprises make when embarking on a technology selection project.
For a sneak preview, here are the 5 mistakes outlined in the recorded briefing:
1. Shortlisting the wrong vendors
Choosing products that are fundamentally ill-suited to your usage scenarios often leads to years of costly customization. We recommend identifying your unique needs up front in the context of testable use cases, and align these needs to the strengths of the solution offerings in the marketplace. You can use Real Story Group research and the RealQuadrant ShortList Builder to help you get started.
2. Canned demos
Many selection teams fall in love with canned demos that software salespeople love to show. In the real world it is extremely rare that the canned use cases actually match your unique challenges. You need to insist that vendors demonstrate their ability to execute the processes and handle the types of content that exist in the everyday world of your enterprise.
Guess what? They'll push back. Few vendors are very good at diverging from their own narratives. No matter: make sure you test any solution according to your cases, not theirs.
3. Not getting the full implementation picture
Throughout any vendor selection it's easy to focus on just the technology. While this is important, you should not lose sight of the fact that the technology is just one piece of the puzzle that will determine your project's success.
In particular, don't forget implementation issues. Make sure you get a clear indication for who will be doing the actual implementation of the technology. Vendor professional services? A third-party integrator? Internal staff? Likely it will be a combination of all of these. You'll want to clearly define the roles of each and understand how the parties will work together.
4. Not properly test-driving the solution
You wouldn't buy a car without test-driving it, right? Then why would you buy something much more expensive without getting your hands competing products?
Before agreeing to purchase software, you need to conduct a head-to-head bake-off between finalists where you are able to allow your users to actually use the system. Ideally this bake-off happens in your environment, with your content, and your processes. Not only will you learn what it is actually like to use the technology, you will gain a much deeper understanding of what it is like to work with the vendor. In our experience, the projects with the most realistic bake-offs result in the most successful implementations.
5. Waiting too late to negotiate
Time and time again we see technology buyers put off negotiating pricing and (increasingly important) contract terms until after they select a vendor and product.
In these cases, you lose bargaining power. Begin the negotiations in the proposal stage and continue the conversations in the demo and bake-off phases. When it comes time to making the final decision you should be sure to get the best pricing from all of your finalists. This way there are no surprises later and you'll be sure you can go with your first choice.
These aren't all the considerations in a technology selection process. RSG's research delves into much deeper detail. But at a minimum, make sure you avoid these five mistakes, to give yourself a fair shot to succeed.
Need more help?
On a case-by-case basis, the Real Story Group provides advisory services to enterprise product selection teams. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation.