This one is for our Leaders & Decision Makers – who intend to replace their core platforms with a new one. Yes, no story incentive this time, but stick around – we will make it worth your time!
The focus is not to cover the Vendor Selection Methodology – you already know this! So, if not that, what’s our focus for you? Without introduction, we are diving into the points straight – all from our experiences. All you need to do is to see if these are on your consideration list for Systems Replacement? If yes, look out for more such matter points (for our list is not exhaustive – Wish it were so easy to cover everything in one note!). If not, start here and add more! See & feel it for yourself.
THE BEGINNING (FOR CHANGE)
Are you focusing on the change or readiness for change?
Most failures result from focusing on change rather than readiness for change. Core Platform Replacement is a big Change that touches pretty much everything in the Company. Make sure to have the basic pre-requisites well covered, at the minimum, for the right beginning. And those are:
- Buy-in from Actual Users –An absolute must (if not already done), around Why this decision? Make them clearly See & Feel the compelling reasons and benefits from the new platform (emotional connect is key to drive change).
- Change Lead & Management Committee – Constitute Combination Team around Business (primary) and Technology, with Management, included, to lead the change – A team that assesses and challenges your most basic assumptions and practices. A team that is influential (in the right way), with an ability to turn antibodies (that reject anything new) into allies.
- Others Experiences early on – Try & get an insight into the challenges with Systems Replacements from others who have already traversed the journey – you don’t want to learn only from your experiences 😊
- High Level Expectations from New Platform – Not just around Problems (problems limit the vision), but around future expectations, define the high-level expectations from Technology and Vendor.
Key Takeaway: It is better to move to action through inspiration than desperation.
THE READINESS (FOR NEW PLATFORM)
If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.
Getting ready to assess the Vendors and their Platforms – what are those most important ones you cannot miss?
- Deep Dive – Into the problems you intend to remove and the solutions you propose to put in place – focus on the ones that are of most importance from Value and Vision context – across the entire value chain – Processes, Hierarchies, Interactions, and Repositioning – pretty much everything.
- Assessment Definition, Who? Prepare right criteria for assessment of Software, preferably through comprehensive use case, that touches the entire value chain – Remember, it is not the definition that’s of importance. It’s the Who that is defining makes all the difference.
- Assessment Framework – Focus on defining the right & very simple framework for assessment of Vendors & their Platforms covering most important dimensions (Functionality, Technology, Road map, Pricing etc). If the framework is complex, it leads to frustration, de-focus, creeping-in biases and most importantly confusion.
- Are you their interest? Look for Vendors that are interested in you and that really care for you, with a clear vision for the future (Capabilities coverage is a default expectation)
Key Takeaway: Set the stage right for transformation & not for transferring old ways of doing business on the New Platform
THE ASSESSMENT (WITH FOCUS)
Be flexible in your assessment – absolutely needed in the approach to new ways. What if System is flexible and you are inflexible?
- What you want to see – Most important is that IT works for you, for the change. While you should not get carried away by the pitch, bells & whistles, be open-minded for what they have & offer. Remember, it’s a two-way road. Better for you to change your processes or direction if the features offered are better than what you have in mind
- What’s non-negotiable for you? No compromise, whatever it is! The rest should come later.
- Their attitude – Are they selling their product features Or Are they trying to understand your needs & expectations? Ultimately, it’s the people & the emotions on both sides that make IT happen.
- What’s hidden in their pricing models? Focus on that! It’s not always easy to understand how the overall model works, leading to budget overruns. Especially during Implementation, leaving you in poor taste later. (by then, it’s already too late!)
- Their Future Plans & Alignment in detail – do they have a road map that matches yours and beyond, especially with emerging technologies? For example: What if you want to start “Greenfield” and transition your current business there? Can they support you?
- Beyond Buy Strategy – “What’s in it for them, for your complete & correct use of the system for the entire life cycle of the Platform?” changes the rules of the game. Negotiate around this cause. Remember, most of the time – deals end on implementation. They don’t follow you through whether you are using the system to its full capacity. And you end up paying for everything. The Right use of the system is again a bi-directional emotion.
- Don’t forget to take the market feedback – but, be sure to remember that this is just one dimension & not a complete influencer.
- Be Open – In the entire game of assessment, leave an element of openness. Remember, you cannot frame the vendor completely – using your framework. You are going to miss out a lot, if you are not open.
And finally, take time to choose the right partner. For, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
Onto the new beginning, with Vendor Selected – Stayed tuned for the next article in Series “Executing Your Choice”
Biz Tech Insights Team Manomay
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