Real Story: Honing in on the Right Marketplace
Welcome to RSG's latest case study about technology selection.
We once assisted a not-for-profit organization that assigned its CTO to lead a search for new digital asset management (DAM) technology. What started as a simple Google search quickly turned into a journey down a rabbit hole that ended with weeks of wasted time and an initial "long list" of dozens of vendors. Analysis paralysis ensued.
When they brought RSG in to help, we quickly discovered that nearly three-quarters of the listed vendors were not even real DAM platforms (even though the vendors said they could satisfy the requirements). Many vendors can help you manage files; not all those vendors can help you manage image, audio, and video assets.
We see this problem a lot. Since many vendors can claim to cross boundaries and address multiple challenges, it falls to you the customer to get clear about:
- Just what marketplace best addresses your needs, and
- Within that marketplace, what's the right subset of vendors that could offer the best overall fit
In this case, simply putting parameters around what is and what is not a DAM sped up the client's process dramatically, and helped them focus on a short list of bona fide DAM vendors.
What's the Core Challenge?
For the enterprise customer, the key to aligning with a specific marketplace is to look to your core. What is the most important piece of information or process related to your business case?
- If it’s a customer record, then look to CDP-type services
- If your core assets are videos, then look to media asset management platforms
- Trying to automate an insurance claim? Then turn to BPM, workflow, or case management technologies
- For more efficient invoice processing, you’ll want to investigate the ERP or accounting software marketplaces
- And so on...
Consider an Incumbent Solution?
It’s possible that your business needs could be satisfied by technology you already license, i.e., an “incumbent” solution. The largest technology vendors like SAP, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle promote their platforms as Swiss Army Knife–type environments that can stretch to fill multiple purposes.
Your enterprise may see these as cornerstone investments and naturally want to gain maximum value here. But if using the incumbent vendor or platform means significantly less business value, then clearly you’ll want to avoid this route. Always remember that the largest vendors sometimes prove the least reliable in terms of product stability.
The converse also sometimes happens: stakeholders deliberately eschew an incumbent solution because it has acquired a bad reputation internally. As often as not, this disrepute may stem from an implementation problem rather than a fundamental vendor or technology shortcoming.
In this DAM case, the organization had licensed an incumbent document management solution. Just to be sure, they added it to the short list along with a handful of pure-play DAM platforms. The demo round quickly proved out that while the document management platform could store and process all the requisite files, it lacked many essential media asset management services, and appeared clunky to use. The selection team unanimously rejected it on multiple grounds, but just as importantly, they documented specific business rationales to explain that decision to upper management.
Two Lessons Learned
Lesson #1: Before creating lists of vendor possibilities, spend your initial research on determining just which marketplace you should be exploring.
Lesson #2: You want to be fair to yourself and your current suppliers by giving incumbent vendors a chance to compete—using the same test-based evaluation process that you’ll apply to other challengers. That way, you’ll learn in an empirical way whether the incumbent player is really the best fit.
Real Story Group can help you make solid technology selection decisions. Review our services and ping me with any questions.
If you're selecting digital workplace or marketing/engagement technology, be sure to check out RSG's hard-hitting vendor evaluation research.