Selecting the right Systems Integrator

It can make the difference between success and failure.

Whether you are embarking on an ERP enabled journey or driving the latest in digital transformation, business leaders constantly have to evaluate whether they have the right sourcing strategy. Many high-profile failures show a significant root cause to be a failure in the customer to Systems Integrator (SI) relationship.

An SI should bring extensive experience of the platform, solution and industry. You the customer on the other hand bring the rich depth of knowledge on your business and current processes. So, what can go wrong?


Values are misaligned

The values of the SI and the customer need to align, with the customer looking to deliver the long-term strategy and the SI delivering a successful project. These goals need to be communicated, documented and discussed across the whole delivery lifecycle, not just at the start. The culture fit of the SI and the customer is also something to worry about; do you have the same values, drivers and long-term aspirations, or is this a marriage made in hell?


Money is not everything

There can be natural tendency to bid low to win the business and make money by change request (or in some instances just underestimate the work). In major multi-year transformation this can lead to repeated, and painful, negotiation ultimately distracting for the initial goal of driving change. Initial bid cost is not the Total Cost of Ownership, and the lowest cost may not be the best fit for you.


Inexperience prevails

In an ideal world the SI team are the ones that developed the bid, made the pitch and met your team during the final contract preparations. In reality this may not always be the case and the team who arrive are simply the ones available at the time. From your side, are you sure that the delivery teams you have put together have the depth of knowledge and skills to deliver a new complex project? Training may help bridge the gap but carefully selecting your teams with the right skills and motivation will pay dividends.


The contract is weak

The contract needs to drive the right behaviours. Remember the triple constraints of project delivery; time, cost and quality. The contract needs to be clear on which is the most important to you, and be laid out so that it can be achieved. Make sure that the split of responsibilities, and roles, is clear and unambiguous. Engage your legal teams early and do not be afraid to say no to contract items that put you on the defensive.


So, what’s the answer?

To deliver the right business outcome here are some thoughts to consider:

  • Focus the selection process on capitalising on business transformation and business outcomes rather than tactical selection, ensure your partner fits your values and culture, as well as value for money.
  • Understand how you’ll make the SI assessment before you start the process, many don’t invest the right amount of time upfront.
  • Engage your supply / legal team (internal and external) early and be clear with them your objectives and desired outcomes.
  • During commercial negotiation prepare, prepare, prepare and know what you are prepared to compromise on, don’t be influenced by just getting the ‘right price’.
  • Build the right team by getting the SI delivery team to present not the sales team.


Embarking on new transformation?

If you are considering your sourcing strategy for your next major transformation and need expert independent guidance Project One can help. We are able to draw on seasoned experts and knowledge gained from many years of successful selection to get your transformation off to the right start. If you’d like to discuss this further, please get in touch.

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POSTED BY: Graham Hawkins


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