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How to Select the Right Technology and Partner

Selecting new technology for your business is a significant decision. The selection process is the start of implementation, it requires investment of time and effort to ensure the right decision is made. Outlined below are a few considerations for anybody looking to select new technology.

While cloud based technology today is configurable and easier to implement than it was 5 or 10 years ago, the level of choice means that the selection process is now more complex. Add to this the common approach of separating the software provider and the implementer or Systems Integrator (SI), and the selection headache is doubled. If you are entering into this process and have not been through it before we recommend getting expert advice. Working with the right experts will ensure that you make the right decision, get the best contractual arrangements and prepare your business for the delivery project ahead. We have helped multiple organisations select the right system and SI to ensure the planned benefits are realised and the digital transformation is successfully delivered. We see three areas that must be addressed.

The Importance of Carrying out a Self Assessment

Most implementations fail because of challenges within the business. The technology provider and SI have usually implemented their product many times before; they know the risks and their methodologies are designed to highlight them and manage them. Understanding your current environment will lay the foundations for implementation success. We believe that it is essential to:

  1. Assess your business strengths and weaknesses and address any gaps identified e.g. do you have project management skills that have this experience? Do you have appropriate test capability and capacity? Do you have change management experience? 
  2. Understand what is required to deliver the project and assess your organisations capacity to do so i.e. how much effort will the project require and how much time will be needed from key resources. To ensure you achieve the optimal solution you will need to commit your best people. Therefore, you need to consider if backfill is required and plan accordingly.
  3. You also need to be clear on what you want and define a clear set of requirements before engaging your system vendor and SI.

Allowing Enough Time in the Selection Process

Selecting a system is not a quick activity; underestimating the selection process creates a significant risk, especially for enterprise-wide systems. The steps that need to be followed will take months and most enterprise system selections are a large investment that will consume a significant amount of resource in the business including money, time and people. It needs to be conducted in a structured way and consider requirements definition, research, selection criteria and processes and contracts. 

If your organisation has not done this before (or has done so with mixed results), we strongly advice that you seek advice from those who have successfully navigated this process multiple times. At Sia Partners, our select for success methodology provides the rigour and assurance around the selection of your provider and SI. 

Implementation Starts at Selection

The planning and estimation of your project starts at the selection stage. Once you have chosen the technology that best suits your requirements the selection of the SI is central to project planning. 

  • It is important to meet the team you will be working with and to get a feel for the culture of their organisation and how it fits with yours. Collaboration will be key. 
  • Understand what the SI expects from you and understand the demarcation lines. Most SI will expect the business to deliver many parts of the project, this is rightly so but misunderstanding responsibilities can result in unexpected costs down the road. In short, understand exactly what the SI is delivering and ensure you have enough resource and budget for internal or additional external staff to avoid having to ask for more funding. 
  • This leads to another key aspect; governance. Ensure you establish sponsor, stakeholders and management responsibilities from the start with clear meeting and reporting lines. Never allow the vendors dictate the project and ensure there is internal ownership to deliver the project and the associated benefits post go-live.

How Can We Help?

At Sia Partners we have deep experience and capability in technology and SI selection, business transformation and programme and project management. We understand the ingredients required for success in optimising your investment in technology & transformation, be it in driving out requirements to select the right solution, selecting the most suitable SI, identifying the gaps, ensuring the project is planned and costed properly, assessing and augmenting organisational capabilities and developing a benefits case. 

Get in touch to find out more on how we can help you lay the foundations for a successful delivery. 

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