At SEI, we get to do the right thing on a number of fronts every day. One in particular happens when our clients engage us to determine and implement the right, long-term solution for them – not just a generic ‘best practice’. In the cases where the solution is vendor-based, we emphasize making a true vendor partnership by being purposeful, deliberate and pragmatic in the selection process. By doing this, we have found that our clients and their prospective vendor partners are able to get a true sense for what the implementation and on-going relationship will really be like before they make that mutual, long-term commitment.
Here are some of the key principles to our ‘know before you go’ approach to vendor partnerships.
Know your organization
- Define your problem statement
- Outline current and desired business capabilities
- Understand the Enterprise application roadmap
- Determine Security and Risk thresholds and specifics
- Identify Legal deal-breakers and deal–makers
- Review history, stakeholders and decision-making process
Share what you learn and leverage it
- Include what you know about your organization in the RFI/RFP
- Leverage the vendor partner responses to fill in gaps between them
- Keep in contact with your stakeholders
Evaluate your options objectively and subjectively
- Conduct demos online as well as in-person
- Utilize simple scorecards
- Allow and capture anecdotal feedback
- Pay attention to how the relationship evolves throughout the process
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? We think so. We even follow this process for ourselves internally to help refine it and avoid being the cobbler’s children. Our collective experience coupled with our direct understanding of what our clients are going through helps us do the right thing at the right time. At the end of the day, our solution agnostic track record has resulted in helping our clients…
- Avoid what isn’t right for their business whether it is a market leader or a perceived less costly option
- Develop novel approaches to ‘best practices’ by understanding their organization and ultimately creating the ‘best practice’ for them
- Increasing organizational adoption and vendor partner involvement
Bottom-line, we have found a recipe for successful vendor selections with the goal of establishing vendor partnerships that we know helps our clients and their prospective vendors find the right solution for both organizations. There is no substitute for knowing you have a strong foundation for a great future together before you start.