Some companies have realized that utilizing a sandbox to evaluate procurement tools is just the first step in innovating their procurement function.
A sandbox approach can drive collaboration across the enterprise. Lots of folks preach it but finding a way to build true collaboration in your organization can be elusive.
This week I will review using a sandbox event to evaluate a new procurement tool or system.
Next week I will cover the sandbox approach to build collaboration.
I prefer to learn using my own information and most of the people I interact with each day feel the same way.
I can understand the value of a tool during a demo with general examples.
The real value for me comes from seeing the tool solve my challenges.
Have you ever fallen in love with an awesome looking car in the showroom?
Then you take the test drive it feels like driving a tank.
Maybe you feel that way about some of the “shelf ware” your company has invested in.
If you have seen a demo of a new tool and believe that is has value, I would recommend that you request the seller to provide you with a sandbox event to test drive the tool.
You will be asking the seller to invest time to set up a sandbox. Let me offer some guidance to help the event meet your expectations. The amount of time a seller is willing to invest should be in proportion to the cost of the tool.
Your needs may be very specific but in general, I would recommend the following areas to focus on:
- Capability to solve critical issues with your current system
- Functionality that demonstrates an understanding of your day-to-day challenges
- Key features that will save time by automating mundane or repetitive tasks
- Supplier management including: onboarding, updating, event invitation, data management, tagging and search capability
- Reporting flexibility
- The approach the seller uses to train you to use the sandbox since this is likely to be the same way they will teach you if you become a client
- Launch timeframe for simple and complex events
I believe that there are some additional steps you should consider if you want to maximize the value of the sandbox event:
- Agree in advance how much time you expect the seller to spend with you in the sandbox
- Prepare a list of features you absolutely want to experience and share those in advance
- Ask to be taught the most important innovations the seller has implemented in the past year
- Offer to pay for the development of a demo for a complex event if that will allow the seller to show that their tool can handle everything you expect
My recommendations are meant to help you get started. I would need a lot more time to cover all the areas that prospective clients have explored in sandbox events.
The topic of collaboration is one that fascinates me and challenges many. I look forward to sharing my thoughts next week.
If you want to explore a purchasing or procurement topic in greater detail, 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 my recommendations will be right for everyone, so don’t expect a sales pitch. You can reach me at (973) 718-7071 x875. The call will be forwarded to my mobile phone if I am not in my office, which is pretty likely.
Organizations of all sizes are reducing costs and increasing efficiency, without changing the way they conduct business. If you would like to know how, simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact information and the best time to reach you.
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Think about it.
Until Next Time, I Wish You Great Success in Your Business and in Your Life