When it comes to exploring new technology, the goal of any business is similar; improve processes through the consolidation of systems which, in turn, will allow us to grow the business and smash the competition. Sounds easy, right? In reality, choosing the right technology can often be a long process that requires a kick ass team to support, lead and champion such an initiative. With so much to think about, knowing what steps to take and what the key decision factors are can be difficult!
Let’s take a look at a sample week-by-week journey of discovering and selecting new technology for a hypothetical team and organization. In this case, it’s through the eyes of a manager trying to find event management technology that will help their team of planners do their jobs better.
Week 1: Building a team
At this first stage, I am going to select a team, a kind task force if you will, to both lead and then champion this project, with set KPIs. I want to improve and grow the talent within my team, through learning and understanding by developing efficient processes we can contribute first hand to the business growth. They can’t do this on their own and neither can I, so I need to support them by providing the right tools, align them with our customers and outpace the competition.
Week 2: Think about goals & priorities
With the team in place, this week begins the search begins for a technology partner. I want them to provide me with the solutions, as I don’t have time to devise my own (and at the end of the day it’s what they do right?). My day to day job keeps me pretty busy, however, I am focused on achieving, procuring and implementing a new solution for myself and for my company. I need to select a supplier that makes me and my team a success.
Week 3: Add budget into the mix
A review of departmental finances took place this week to agree on the budgets behind this project. We had started the search as soon as the project team were in place, through research, using competitive intelligence, hosting leadership groups with likeminded people whom have the right suppliers in place, etc. Although budgets were set, we all agreed that we need the partner to be right, so price in the end is not the key driver for our change.
Week 4: Reaching out to & talking with suppliers
This week marks the first major milestone in this project, as we sent out a RFP to two of our top potential suppliers; Event Tech Company A and Event Tech Company B. They are two very different companies, but provide a similar solution, so as we talk to each one, our focus is on what is going to make one stand out over the other, as well as how they managed the first stage of this process. Event Tech Company A responded to the RFP, however, it became clear they did not have a full understanding of our needs. They gave standard responses, just answering the questions we asked without going outside the box or giving us fresh ideas.
Now, here is where the two started to separate. Event Tech Company B went beyond our expectations by asking for a clarification call to understand more some of the questions within the RFP. It was clear that Event Tech Company B certainly had done their homework. They had an in-depth understanding of our roles; although I am in a manager position and am looking at the big picture, they focused on my team’s needs as well. At the end of the day, the people on my team are the ones using the tool, and they need to be happy with one that streamlines processes and alleviates risk.
Week 5: Review
I have provided a brief to both suppliers, and unfortunately, Event Tech Company A was disorganised with a clunky and unpolished presentation; I was not impressed at all. Their presentation was standard and boring and they didn’t offer anything that I hadn’t thought of, nothing that was going to make me or my team shine.
Event Tech Company B, on the other hand, stole the show with a personalised demo and examples of fully branded event websites. Their demo of the product alone gave me the confidence that I could work with them. It was comforting for me to see how they challenged our needs, offering better solutions that we hadn't even considered in the first place. Another impressive move was that they brought along the proposed account manager and their executive sponsor, showcasing their commitment to us as a company that they had already thought about the future and had prepared a team of people to take the journey with us.
Week 6: Decision time
It’s an exciting time as we are going to appoint our new partner – Event Tech Company B! I am sure they will be delighted as the enthusiasm and positivity they have displayed has been refreshing and has instilled a confidence that we had made the right choice.
Week 7: Signing the deal
Now with contracting out of the way Event Tech Company B, once again, didn’t let us down. We worked with their legal team to get the deal signed pretty much in a week, which is unheard of! The company has made this particularly easy for us, helping us understand what we needed to be able to sign so efficiently.
Week 8: Onboarding kick-off
This week marks another milestone, as we have our first official kick off call, and myself and my team will be introduced to the on-boarding process and our account manager! During the sales process, we were provided with a good understanding of the role and what kind of support we would get, so during this first call, we were really pleased to see that they came through. The sales director and the account manager were aligned on our goals, as well was their professional services and training teams as we learned on later calls. Everyone was ready to do their bit as a part of one, aligned on-boarding team.
Week 12: And we’re live!
A few weeks later, the time has come and we’re live with our new event technology! Event Tech Company B has worked hard over the last few weeks to assist and support us putting the new processes into place. They had a plan in place to make sure our team of planners knew how to fully utilise the tools to do their job more efficiently, to increasing productivity and make themselves shine.
While we are coming to the end of our quest to introduce new technology to our team, it’s only the beginning of our journey, one that we intend to make long term and successful one with the help of new supplier.