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Selecting a major technology platform or entering a business process outsourcing arrangement to replace existing capabilities or implement capabilities that do not currently exist is one of the most consequential decisions corporate managers make. The investment in the platform itself, the effort to deploy it, and the resulting impact on the employees and/or customers who use it have far-reaching implications for productivity, customer service, efficiency, expense management, user morale, and customer satisfaction. In spite of the importance of sound decision making, decision makers must live with the knowledge that there is no good way to guarantee that the decision is the best one at the time, will remain the best one in the future as conditions evolve, and that a good solution decision will ensure a good solution execution.

In view of these implications, Trexin has developed a structured decisioning framework consisting of both process steps and analysis that is designed to ensure the following:

  • All considerations that bear upon a good decision are included in the analysis
  • All available information, and the source and quality of that information, is made transparent to decision-makers
  • The decision reached is optimal and defensible – that is the best decision that can be made with available information and corporate priorities and is transparently communicated to all stakeholders
  • That all stakeholders participate in the process and own the results

The Trexin method of vendor selection is designed to make the evaluation process as learning intensive and streamlined as possible. Vendor management is a difficult task and evaluation and selection of a vendor can easily be derailed, especially on a global, enterprise-wide project. We aim to focus on best practice selection criteria while rapidly eliminating the wrong candidates. This process is guaranteed to create cross-functional consensus and management buy-in leaving you with a confident finalist selection at the start of implementation.

Trexin’s approach mitigates traditional vendor/solution selection process risks by discarding the historical and tedious evaluation steps and focusing on succinct fact gathering and proven selection processes, all the while cultivating a healthy relationship with candidate vendors and empowering the business. Areas that the Trexin vendor/solution selection process specifically addresses include:

  • An upfront focus on business vision and strategy to ensure a more thorough, shared understanding of business need while simultaneously providing guidance to the extended project team regarding vendor/solution selection risks and mitigation steps.
  • Recognizing and leveraging the differences between a Request for Information (RFI) and a Request for Proposal (RFP).
  • Skillfully adjusting the extent and timing of detailed requirements definition in contextual relation to the learning and discovery process inherent to vendor/solution selection.
  • Genuinely accepting that relationship building with candidate vendors is an important yet sensitive process.
  • Broadly exploring how vendor capabilities fit and impact both the business need as well as the implementation plan.

Help section

Help me clarify my business and technology needs

There are two primary risks associated with selection requirements:

  1. superficial understanding of need, and
  2. premature and/or over-engineered requirements.

The first risk results in an hurried focus towards a specific class of solution without more holistic consideration of business need, business processes, and the technology that enables it, which may reveal different possible solutions leading either to a different class of software or changing processes before “paving the crooked cow path” with new technology for an ineffective process. The second risk, usually materialized as early documentation of every single desired feature upfront, consumes significant company resource time and generally lengthens rather than shortens the selection process, in part because starting from scratch equates to designing a custom system, essentially guaranteeing that no vendor/solution evaluated will fit the documented needs exactly.

Trexin can help you mitigate these two risks by grounding selection requirements to more foundational business vision and strategy considerations… and delaying detailed requirements specification to a later point in the process.

Areas of Expertise:

  • business vision
  • business strategy
  • selection principles
  • solution alternatives
  • critical/strategic requirements

Help me recognize and leverage the differences between an RFI and an RFP

A Request for Information (RFI) should be a mechanism to quickly gather information on vendors/solutions to determine which might possibly fit a buyer’s need and be down-selected. A Request for Proposal (RFP) should result in a detailed, near contract-ready proposal that can be directly translated into a negotiated contract. Trexin can help your selection team understand these distinctions and when/how to best deploy each, avoiding the ineffectiveness of a widely distributed, exhaustive RFI/RFP hybrid.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Request for Information (RFI)
  • Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Evaluation Criteria
  • Scoring Approach

Help me conduct live, on-site demonstrations that are contextually relevant to our needs

If not explicitly requested to do otherwise, vendors will always use demos to showcase their best features and functions, often in complete isolation to practical concerns such as systems integration and maintenance. Even demonstrations of usability can be structured to hide annoyances by hiding essential workflow steps behind demo templates and pre-defined data sets. Trexin can help you understand the risks of out-of-context demos and develop a more effective requests for live, on-site demonstrations of vendor/solution capabilities that are directly relevant to your needs.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Demo Scripting
  • Demo Evaluation and Scoring
  • Vendor Management

Help me evaluate proposals, drive selection consensus, and negotiate contract details

By the time a decision needs to be made, a consensus should have long been emerging, if not on the emerging frontrunner then at least on the evaluation criteria by which the choice will be made. Waiting until the end of the selection process to have a “big vote” is generally not an optimal approach. Furthermore, contract negotiation should not start after a vendor has already been selected and some leverage is already lost, critical elements of negotiation should be incorporated directly into the RFP and negotiated as part of the followup to the RFP itself. Contract negotiation itself should be the transfer of those business agreements into the proper legal structures that can be summarily executed. Trexin can help you optimize your entire vendor/solution selection process to ensure that vendor/solution fitness is well evaluated, selection criteria and decisions are well aligned, and vendor contracts are appropriately structured.

Areas of Expertise:

  • evaluation criteria
  • scoring approach
  • decision analysis
  • analytic hierarchy process
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • consensus development
  • contract negotiation

Help me lead a proof-of-concept

In spite of the importance of sound decision making, decision makers must live with the knowledge that there is no good way to guarantee that the decision is the best one at the time, will remain the best one in the future as conditions evolve, and that a good solution decision will ensure a good solution execution. One way to mitigate this risk is to ask the leading contender(s) to demonstrate their fitness through a limited proof-of-concept implementation, which will at least provide grounding about immediate fitness and usability. Trexin can help you properly structure that request to your vendors, design the proof of concept itself, oversee the implementation, and guide your evaluation.

Areas of Expertise:

  • proof of concept
  • prototype
  • pilot
  • minimal viable product
  • evaluation criteria
  • scoring approach

Help me create an implementation project plan

Selected vendors or their value-added resellers (VARs) commonly assume responsibility for implementation as part of the negotiated contract. However, a broader implementation project plan that addresses extended personnel and technical integration along with more sophisticated organizational change management is often required. Trexin can help you establish a more robust implementation project plan to ensure a more thorough deployment approach.

Areas of Expertise:

  • program management
  • project management
  • unit testing
  • system testing
  • integration testing
  • office testing
  • enterprise architecture
  • solution architecture
  • deployment
  • failover/fault-tolerance

Distance Doesn’t Have to be a Distraction

Trexin’s Jonathan Katz and Tori Anderson discuss best practices for working remotely to aid employers and managers navigate the challenge of remote work as it’s rapidly becoming an engrained aspect of the professional world.

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