Since the first SolutionMap was published in late 2017, it has been used by thousands of organizations in their evaluations and buying decisions.
If your organization is like most I have worked with, the approval process is long.
Procurement professionals must align stakeholders, define critical requirements, issue an RFP, develop a believable ROI and secure a budget to purchase a platform.
The good news is that the analysts at Spend Matters work in a manner that mimics your everyday reality.
They use specific, narrow criteria to score rather than relying on generalizations or subjective views.
Their approach, outlined in this whitepaper, is designed to take the guesswork and opinions out of the decision.
Here is a brief overview of their process each quarter:
- Over 400 RFP survey question responses are scored for each provider.
- Exhaustive product demonstrations are evaluated.
- A minimum of 10 customer surveys are conducted including a requirement for 3 new customers each quarter.
- Research analyst feedback and direct customer feedback are weighed equally.
- Since no solution is right for every organization, they create multiple rankings based on five buying personas.
If you are moving from a system that relies on offline tools like Excel, email and PDFs your choice might seem overwhelming.
With the SolutionMap, at least you will have a solid list of providers to consider.
What other factors should you consider in your analysis?
- There are many quality tools available.
- Be skeptical of marketing claims.
- What is on their roadmap? Are new features solving issues or adding new functionality?
- Discuss the budget first, not last. If it won’t work financially for both sides, part friends quickly. This won’t be your last position and this platform could be the right fit in a new role.
- You will get what you pay for so don’t expect a 500% ROI. If it seems too good to be true, ask for more client references.
- Everyone must be fully engaged in the process. Including the ultimate decision maker(s).
- Understanding how you make money in your business and what your team does to support your supply chain is vital.
- Focus on the functionality you need now.
- Then consider this question: “If this works as well as I expect it to on this project, what other projects or categories should be next?”
- Ask for an overview demo that focuses on ease of use. Once a tool passes that test, ask for a customized demo that includes your entire wish list.
- A representative from the provider’s support staff should be on the demo and ready to explain how they will train and guide your team.
- Expect that more than one solution can work for you.
What will be the key make or break factors?
If everything else is equal, I believe that industry experience and customer satisfaction are the two most important factors. I haven’t always made the right decisions and the wrong ones didn’t weight these two factors properly.
I do believe in references but…
If a reference provider is hesitant or reluctant to respond to questions like “Would you hire them again given the choice?” that should be a red flag.
In the end, don’t make the final choice based on price. This is rarely the right decision. Find another way to get the deal done. Smart suppliers understand this and will work with you.
The timing is never right. Imagine all the benefits you would have today if you had made the choice a year ago.
This is a great approach and explaining the benefits you have missed will help you convince the nonbelievers.
If you want to know more about the Spend Matters approach, I encourage you to reach out to them. It will be enlightening. You can also view the 2020 results for E-Sourcing & Optimization tools here.
One last thought to consider. Providers that have staff with specific experience in procurement can be very valuable to you.
The challenges we are facing now are unprecedented.
Every crisis provides opportunities.
Many organizations are using this time to evaluate new tools.
If you have extra time, because you aren’t travelling, or meetings have been cancelled and you want to chat I can make time.
Ask better questions, make changes and 2020 will be your best year ever.
Action Step: Finding the right tools for your needs can be a challenging process but it doesn’t have to be. If you are uncertain where to start the process of change, a procurement professional like myself can provide guidance and expertise to help your organization achieve the results you want. If you want to go explore this topic in greater detail, please contact me. I invite you to request 30-minute discovery conversation. In my experience the next step will be apparent at the end of the call. I never assume that what I have to offer will be right for everyone, so don’t expect a sales pitch. You can reach me at 973-936-9672.