VIP: A New Approach to Vendor Selection
I recently purchased a book from my local bookstore titled F in Exams - The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers. It’s a compilation of funny test responses collected by a teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed reading some of the comical entries, including:
Exam Question: What does a transformer do?
Student’s Response: It can go from being a robot to a sports car in three seconds.
When a student doesn’t properly prepare for an exam by using all the resources available to them, like their text books, exam responses like this happen. Similarly when selecting a core system software vendor, if carriers rely upon an antiquated proof of concept methodology to select a vendor, they may end up with an ‘F’ in vendor selection. The following is sample list of refreshing ideas to help guide carriers through the vendor selection process. We suggest using a new approach to vendor selection referred to as the VIP or Vendor Immersion Program.
#1 Complete Pre-VIP Prep
Consider bringing in a best-practices vendor early in the process so they can work with you to devise a VIP multi-day agenda for all vendors.
Conduct a discovery call with your trusted advisor so they can understand how you do business and what you want to achieve.
Create a business flow (not a script) that can be used as a scorecard.
Install the software to see how your existing network can support the new system.
#2 Conduct the VIP
Have a kick off with your key players in attendance: executives, and core business and technology teams.
Have the vendors demonstrate out-of-the-box software. This way you know what you get when you install as of day one.
Request a current customer testimonial. With this, you have an opportunity to get a first-hand account of the system and vendor from a peer in your own industry.
Conduct parallel business and technical sessions to more efficiently utilize your resources.
Test the vendor by asking that they configure something unique to your environment.
Throw your business users on the system — not just to check out the feature sets, but to apply it to relevant business lifecycle events specific to your business.
#3 Assess the VIP
Utilize a scorecard and record strengths and weaknesses of each solution or vendor.
Debrief with each vendor. Let them know what went well and what didn’t. This will help them to evolve their solution in the future.
When selecting a vendor, remember that you are selecting a partner for the lifetime of your system and potentially for that of your career – choose wisely by preparing soundly.