There are so many resources out there, how do you get started? More importantly, when you do finally make the switch, how do you guarantee company-wide adoption?
Identify the Problem
Before attending any trade shows or doing research online, I try to know exactly what I am looking for while keeping an open mind on how it gets done. Knowing what isn’t working with the current process helps me to ensure that the new provider doesn’t have the same issues. I don’t want to be out doing this process again in six months.
We have all heard the saying “People, Process, and Product.” We have found any of the changes we look at making always fall into one of these three categories.
If we are looking to make a change within a process we look at the strengths and weaknesses of the current process, discuss the options for the improvement, document the new process, and then make the change.
The same goes with purchasing a product/service. We identify a need, look at all options, and document the how the product/service will fit in with our people and processes.
Does the Technology Exist?
When we first decided to build our product on the Cloud we decided not to just move our technology over, but to rebuild it from ground up for future benefits.
Although the technology was incredible, resources were not readily available making the new build take longer than expected.. Fast-forward a couple years and now there are Cloud services and features that are common that, at the time, were not.
Because of that experience, we now look at how long the technology has been available and what the current resources are when we look to make a change.
Research, Research, Research
After determining the top two priorities, I go in search of the top vendors that meet those needs. Learning as much about each vendor in advance of the any trade shows, meetings, or demos will allow me to use my time more wisely.
Additionally, a real-world use case is worth way more than a great sales pitch. So, I make sure to spend time and have the vendors walk me through my own personal scenarios, not a canned presentation.
Don’t Forget to Set Appointments
Setting appointments is your own one-on-one time with a vendor. With no distractions, you have the chance to really dive in to the solution and any questions you have.
If you’re doing your research at a trade show, it can get overwhelming. I always try to set appointment times with my top vendors in advance. This guarantees I have an opportunity to see exactly what I want and not get wrapped up in the chaos. If there is time left over, I see those that didn’t make the initial short list just to make sure I don’t miss anything.
Pulling the Trigger
After the research you’ll need to narrow the list down to the top two vendors. Schedule online demos and invite other key decision makers for a second opinion. I find this step is important as it helps to make sure nothing gets missed or questions don’t get answered.
Once we all agree on the vendor we work together to get an implementation calendar agreed to with the vendor. This helps to understand timelines and ensures that everyone has the same expectations.
Get EVERYONE on the Same Page
Next up…..implementation. The time spent on implementation is the most critical. Not only does it ensure that the solution does what was promised but also to ensures the entire team knows how to use it to the fullest extent.
We have found that having multiple people attend the kickoff meeting and training sessions is beneficial later as questions arise or new people need to be trained.
Ongoing Training & Support
If possible check to see if the vendor offers ongoing support, regular touch points and additional training when needed. This helps to, not only, keep your team informed, but also ensures the solution remains an effective tool to improve your business.
Like with many things in business, having a plan will help the process of selecting a vendor to be less strenuous and go more smoothly.