Technology Trials 2012 – Part I

As indicated in Monday’s post, for many of you it’s contract renewal time with respect to many of your installed and SaaS platforms, and time for you to decide if it’s time to move on to new pastures or keep grazing the one you’re in.

It’s a tough decision, and the software giants don’t make it any easier. With new buzzwords every year, new features by the dozens (that may or may not help), and new delivery models with pricing models so complicated that your CA’s head spins, it’s often tough to know what to do.

And every situation is so unique that there’s no way that one post can even begin to give you all the answers (which is why SI did a very rare thing and ran a “best-of” technology post week to try and illustrate the breadth, and complexity of the problem).

But no matter what your situation is, there is some common ground and some questions that must be answered in order to find the path that will lead you to the right decision.

(01) Is your current solution supporting the process you need?

By this I mean the process you have identified as being the right process to support the requirements you have identified for your sourcing, procurement, logistics, etc. function. And by support, I mean that you can implement the majority of the process adequately in a reasonable amount of time. If you can implement all of the core functions and 80% of the non-core functions, and can you do so without a noticeable slow-down in productivity, then it is, at the very leaset, adequately supporting the function. It doesn’t have to be a 100% solution (as we all know there is no such thing; there is a special case that will break every solution), and it doesn’t have to be the fastest (as shaving 10% off the top of process time doesn’t really save enough of your time to be considerably more productive or value generating), but it has to be at least average.

Yes – then, unless costs are increasing significantly, or a strategic solution analysis has indicated that another solution will provide considerably more saving or value generation opportunities in the future, then you should probably stick with the existing solution as the cost of switching will not be made up in the short-, or even mid-, term

Yes-And-No – the solution does most of what you need, but there are a few notable deficiencies that need to be addressed: if there are best-of-breed / standalone solutions that can address these deficiencies, then it’s probably best to stick with what you have and fill the holes with point solutions, otherwise, the answer is really No

No – you need to find a new solution – the only question is how much time you have until renewal and how broad a footprint your current solution has; if the footprint is broad (beyond one function) or has many years of data, then you will need at least 3-6 months to replace it; so, if you have less than 3-6 months, you have to pretend the answer is Yes, keep the solution for one more year and start a strategic solution analysis; otherwise, you start searching for a new solution right away

In Part II we’ll discuss what comes next.