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Systems procurement – getting it right and avoiding danger on the road ahead.
As many will attest purchasing a new car can be an emotional process particularly for those who see their car as more than a commodity that ferries them from A to B. There are many considerations that typically includes its colour, make, model, size, instrument navigation, appeal, comfort, its green credentials and of course the cost of the capital outlay and the long-term running costs. Financing options also require consideration. There is a lot to digest before even contemplating the plethora of options available. Typically, one would arm themselves with the latest new car reviews and after some deliberation consider the short list of brands that agree with their budget, and for the most part, meet the ‘must have’ criteria. The next step is visiting the dealership and engaging with the salespeople! You know, the folk who can take you down a road of confusion with dangerous half-truths.
When it comes to procuring business systems that impacts an entire workforce the process is similar albeit the stakes are significantly higher. Upon realising your business is suffering from process inefficiencies, unnecessary costs, compliance risks and/or lost business opportunities, one’s motivation usually increases to seek new technology alternatives that will assist with delivering better-quality services for your clients, and cost reductions for your firm. However, unless you have a comprehensive understanding of the capabilities of business systems and their pricing arrangements available today, and more importantly what benefits modern business systems can deliver, there will be many hours, days and months navigating the steep learning curve ahead of you before any decisions can be made. Unlike purchasing a new car, procuring new business systems requires a little less emotion and far more due diligence to ensure the investment will garner the acceptance of its intended users, will provide a considerable return on investment, and will deliver the benefits your firm requires to remain competitive and appealing to your clients and prospective clients.
Given a business system’s lifecycle is likely to be two or three times that of a car, it must be developed on modern architecture and be highly configurable to deliver benefits that will drive your firm’s success over the long haul. Your investment is also likely to be many multiples of the purchase price of a car, so ensuring your due diligence and procurement process is thorough and structured is crucial to ensuring the best outcome is achieved. Not only to protect your personal reputation but also the firm’s standing given salacious news tends to travel fast. After months of navigating through the initial short-listing process the next step is to contact your preferred software vendors and engage with their salespeople. You know, those folks who . . .!
If time is precious to you then the alternative may be to engage an independent expert who already has the business system insights, you need. This includes having inside knowledge and the experience to distinguish what features of the pricing can be successfully negotiated with the software vendors to achieve the best deal for you. Top procurement specialists will even manage to offset their fee and much more through the discounts and terms they can secure on your behalf.
If you would like to get it right and avoid the danger ahead during your next system procurement process, we would be delighted to discuss how we can help and share with you our points of difference.
Robert Wagner, Managing Partner, Harriss Wagner Consultants & Advisers